Alberta Environment and Parks has issued High Streamflow Advisories for the Elbow and Bow Rivers, including the city of Calgary. Due to the High Streamflow Advisories and current forecast, The City of Calgary is advising Calgarians against boating and all other watercraft activities on the Elbow and Bow Rivers.
“The expected flow rates will be higher than we’ve seen all year,” says Carol Henke, Public Information Officer, Calgary Fire Department. “Runoff from rainfall and melting snow in the mountains is causing cold water temperatures, increased floating debris and high turbidity in both rivers, which makes for very poor visibility and dangerous conditions.”
Members of Calgary Fire and Calgary Police marine units will be monitoring the rivers while the advisory is in place. For the safety of river users and emergency responders, The City advises everyone to stay off the Elbow and Bow Rivers until conditions return to normal.
It is also important for Calgarians near the rivers to be aware of high flow levels. Calgarians are urged to:
- Exercise caution around river banks as the fast-moving water can cause erosion and destabilization of river banks.
- Warn their children about the dangers of fast-moving water, particularly those residents who live near the rivers.
- Keep pets away from fast moving water.
- Remove lawn furniture and other portable items off the river bank.
In addition, the Glenmore Reservoir is currently closed for recreational use. Visit calgary.ca/sailing to keep up to date on the status of the Glenmore Reservoir.
There are no current advisories on flood-related activity for the city of Calgary. A High Streamflow Advisory means that stream levels are rising or expected to rise, although widespread overbank flooding is not anticipated. However, flooding can occur at any time, and the period between May 15 and July 15 is when the city is most likely to experience flooding.
Calgarians can visit calgary.ca/floodinfo to understand current flood risk, and find more information on how to be prepared for flood season.
In the event water rises above the curbs on both sides of a street, Calgarians are urged to:
- Avoid walking or driving through the water due to concealed open manholes. Take an alternative route.
- Avoid driving through a flooded underpass; it may strand you and your vehicle in rising water.
- Stay a safe distance from storm drainage outfalls, particularly children. When water rushes through a stormwater outfall and into a river or stream, it can be forceful enough to overpower and injure people.
Cyclists and pedestrians should watch for low-lying areas where the rivers can cover the river pathways.
Pathways at underpasses where flooding occurs will be closed over the coming days. In instances where just the underpass is closed, Calgarians should use the overland route. If a section of pathway larger than an underpass is closed a detour will be provided.
Visit calgary.ca/pathwayclosures for up to date information on pathway closures.