Town of High River Annual River Monitoring Begins

Town of High River Annual River Monitoring Begins

Town staff compile local observations to determine if action is required

HIGH RIVER AB – The Highwood River flows are in the normal range for the annual spring thaw. High River staff are monitoring the river until the end of June. Weekly river updates and river monitoring signs will keep the community informed. Visit for more information.

Town staff check key monitoring stations to collect data specifically gathered for the Highwood River Basin. This data includes daily, real time information about the snowpack and snowmelt as the river makes its way towards the Town, descending 1,500 meters from its source in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park. Data for High River is compiled by monitoring stream flow and volume at these stations and by anticipating the impacts of temperatures and precipitation. Monitoring results are shared with the community weekly.

This year, the Town will use LED signs in high traffic areas that will give the river’s “status at a glance” to passing motorists, cyclists and pedestrians. The signs will provide the daily river monitoring status and direct people to for more information.

The four standard stages of river monitoring are similar to fire hazard signs seen in forestry areas or provincial parks and in the same way, will help raise awareness of the potential for risk.

The four stages of river monitoring are:

  1. Normal (green)
  2. High stream flow advisory (yellow)
  3. Flood watch (orange) and
  4. Flood warning (red)

If a flood watch is necessary residents will be advised to prepare and be ready. A flood warning means there is a potential emergency. Residents should tune into the radio or social media and monitor emergency notifications for instructions as the Town’s response plan is activated.

River monitoring by Town staff will continue until the end of June. Residents are encouraged to sign up for emergency alerts, and to follow the Town’s Facebook and Twitter channels for regular information and updates.

More details, including information about the new signs, the four stages of monitoring and how to prepare for an emergency can be found on the Town’s website: Emergency Management – High River is Ready.

Mayor Craig Snodgrass Quotes

“When it comes to managing flood risk, we are not looking at or taking our cues from the whole province. We are looking to the scientific data provided by their experts to compile local observations and determine when action is required. It is no different than relying on AHS as the experts on COVID-19, except in this case, we call the shots. We know the Town, we built the infrastructure to protect the community, we are recognized as experts in flood planning and response and we know this river.”

“People have lived where our town sits, on the Highwood River, for thousands of years. The beauty of nature is part of our identity and the natural capital is something that makes High River a destination for people from around the World. High River residents wear their pride, courage and experience like a badge of honour. These qualities come with experience and can’t be bought or built. They are the cornerstone or our High River response plan and will always be connected to this river that runs through our Town.”

“The Highwood River source is in a high mountain pass and the river starts out wild, tumbling and free in a back-country paradise. By the time it reaches civilization it looks tame but when you live here, you know you must be prepared for high water. Living in High River means living with the rhythms of each season. Spring thaw, spring rains and snowmelt are predictable. How they will combine and if they will affect the Town are not as predictable and that’s why we monitor the river and the weather diligently.”