The province has introduced new flood protection initiatives along the Bow and Elbow Rivers to protect Calgary and upstream communities from severe flooding.

“Building Alberta’s flood defenses will help protect families and businesses from a repeat of the devastation experienced in 2013,” said Alberta Environment Minister Shannon Phillips. “This investment will help safeguard our communities and economy against increasingly severe and frequent natural disasters.”

A provincial funding commitment of $297 million will ensure communities along the Elbow River are protected from the type of flooding that was seen in June 2013.

“This option will protect everyone involved much quicker. Several factors make Springbank the better option. One is cost. Springbank has a lower estimated price tag than McLean Creek. One is time to deliver. McLean creek carries with it the very, real risk of catastrophic failure during the construction phase. Another important factor is environmental impact. The McLean Creek Dam involves lost habitat and creates barriers to grizzly bear and bull trout movement. Both are federally listed as threatened species. Not only that but the scale of the McLean Creek project would trigger more extensive environmental assessment processess meaning the people of Bragg Creek and Redwood Meadows would wait longer for flood protection.” said Phillips.

The Alberta government is also providing dedicated funding of $150 million over 10 years to the City of Calgary for local projects through the Alberta Community Resilience Program.

“The flood of 2013 had a devastating impact on the lives of thousands of Albertans. I am very pleased that the new provincial government has moved to protect downtown Calgary and our flood prone communities from a similar flood in the future,” said Mayor Naheed Nenshi.

The flood mitigation projects were selected based on the advice of independent experts in flood protection.

The projects include:

  • Building the Springbank Off-stream Reservoir
  • Funding local mitigation in Bragg Creek and Redwood Meadows
  • Establishing the Bow River working group, which will be jointly chaired by the province and the City of Calgary and will include representation from rural municipalities, irrigation districts, local First Nations communities and other stakeholders, to assess future flood protection along the Bow River

Work is already underway on the 70.2 million cubic metre Springbank Off-stream Reservoir west of the city that will work in conjunction with the Glenmore Reservoir to protect against a 2013-level flood on the Elbow River.

The province is also providing approximately $33 million for local flood mitigation protection for Bragg Creek, plus additional funding for Redwood Meadows.

Five new multi-year hazard studies are also underway to identify river hazards and to create new flood inundation and hazard maps for the Bow, Elbow, Sheep, Highwood and Peace Rivers.

For more information on the Recommendations on the Elbow River major infrastructure decisions click HERE of scroll the document below.