The Government of Alberta is improving flood resilience in Calgary and across the province through investments in new infrastructure and emergency preparedness.
As part of its $150 million in dedicated funding to Calgary, the province has approved new Alberta Community Resilience Program grants totalling $13.5 million for three high-priority projects in the city. This year, the government will invest close to $30 million for 20 flood mitigation projects across the province.
Additionally, a new $10 million investment in emergency preparedness capacity will support a comprehensive list of projects to improve flood resilience in Alberta communities.
“We know that floods are devastating to our communities and our economy, both here in Calgary and across the province. That’s why our government is committed to investing in flood resilience to better protect Albertans where they live and work. These investments will help ensure Alberta is better prepared than ever.”
~Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks
“It’s crucial that we support our communities across the province to be ready to deal with emergencies. They are on the front lines and are the first to respond to keep people and property safe. This new funding will go a long way to help them be even more prepared for future emergencies.”
~Shaye Anderson, Minister of Municipal Affairs
“Flood resilience remains a top priority for Calgarians and their municipal government. As the snowpack melts, we all anxiously look at the two rivers that flow through our city. But with smart investments in our watershed and emergency preparedness, we are protecting our people and property well into the future. Through partnership with the provincial government, we are more resilient than we were five years ago, and we will only get stronger and more resilient as we continue to work together.”
~Naheed Nenshi, mayor, Calgary
The government is also announcing that it will begin a study to assess the three potential upstream storage options identified in the Bow River Water Management Project report. The assessments will include a high level hydrology study, conceptual design of all three options, tabletop geotechnical investigation, high level environmental scan, and a stakeholder overview.
“These flood mitigation measures are excellent and will strengthen our community’s capacity to respond in 2018. In the long term, both the Elbow and Bow Rivers will need further flood mitigation projects in order to protect Calgarians from the effects of future large-scale flooding. We look forward to working collaboratively with the Province to find solutions.”
~Tom Sampson, chief, Calgary Emergency Management Agency
Through the Alberta Community Resilience Program, the government will provide close to $30 million for more than 20 projects across the province that will help ensure public safety, protect critical municipal infrastructure, better manage stormwater, restore wetlands and riparian areas, and assess climate change impacts on flood mapping and drinking water infrastructure in Alberta. All funding for the projects will be provided in the 2018-19 fiscal year.
The nearly $30-million investment in flood mitigation includes:
- The downtown flood barrier in Calgary, which will extend from the West Eau Claire flood barrier to Reconciliation Bridge
- Drainage improvements and riverbank stabilization work on Cold Lake First Nation to ensure emergency access and potable water delivery during a flood event
- A constructed wetland on the east side of Taber to reduce the impact of stormwater flooding on the town’s industrial area
- Work to assess the feasibility of increasing the drawdown rate at TransAlta’s Ghost Reservoir to provide the province with increased flexibility during the modified operations period
The $10-million emergency preparedness investment will:
- Add equipment, such as sandbags, tiger dam kits, sandbag fillers and pumps to the provincial stockpile, located in the MD of Foothills
- Reimburse municipalities, including Calgary, for additional mitigation and preparation costs to help them be better prepared
- Establish a reserve for future emergencies and to strengthen standby response capacity
More than 40 municipalities and three First Nations have received funding through the Alberta Community Resilience Program since 2015. The Watershed Resiliency and Restoration Program has provided funding more than 50 municipalities, First Nations, post-secondary institutions and non-government agencies over the same time period. Since 2013, the Alberta government has invested more than $700 million in community-level resilience projects, erosion control, upstream storage, flood mapping, flood forecasting and emergency preparedness, and watershed health to improve flood and drought resilience across the province.