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Flood mitigation projects

The flood mitigation projects listed below will help keep flood-prone communities safe.

Water management and mitigation infrastructure

Infrastructure can't stop a flood, but mitigation projects can help limit the damage floods cause.

We invested $104 million to upgrade critical water management infrastructure. When complete, these upgrades will minimize potential damage and ensure they continue operating in case of future floods. We are also moving forward with the Springbank Off-stream Reservoir and upstream local mitigation to protect communities along the Elbow River against future floods.

Springbank Off-stream Reservoir

The Alberta government is reviewing several major flood mitigation projects, including:

Highwood River Basin Diversion Project

We also invested $104 million to upgrade critical water management infrastructure. When complete, these upgrades will minimize potential damage and ensure they continue operating in case of future floods.

Municipal projects

Local communities are making progress on flood mitigation. Initiatives include:

  • local mitigation projects like berms
  • re-evaluating future development and growth
  • educating residents on flood precautions
  • conducting property inspections
  • holding public awareness sessions

What we're doing

The Government of Alberta developed the Municipal Recovery Toolkit to help local communities develop recovery plans, including future mitigation efforts. We also continue to consult with impacted communities on local mitigation.

In June 2014, we launched the Alberta Community Resilience Program. This program will help Alberta communities build resiliency to both flood and drought over the next 3 years.

Municipal Recovery Toolkit (PDF, 21 pages)

Erosion control

When a river spills over its banks during a flood, the overland flow of water can wash away important terrain. Flood erosion can damage roads, buildings, bridges and other infrastructure. Erosion control is one solution to help prevent this. It includes bank stabilization, and mitigation projects such as dykes and berms. The goal of erosion control is to keep rivers within their natural channels.

What we're doing

The Government of Alberta has provided a total of $216 million for erosion control projects across the province through the Flood Recovery Erosion Control Program. All erosion control projects are scheduled to be complete by 2015, and many are already underway.

Floodway Recovery Erosion Control Program

Water management and development policies

Albertans love to enjoy the province's natural beauty, but they should be aware of flood risks in specific areas. To manage this, legislation has been introduced to limit future development in floodways. This will reduce the risk to people, infrastructure, environment and economy. Other policy implementations will include updating building codes and engineering requirements in flood fringe areas.

What we're doing

The Government of Alberta has offered a voluntary buyout of 254 homes in the most flood-prone areas. We also introduced Bill 27, which proposes amendments to the Municipal Government Act to limit development in floodways.

Alberta to support relocation from floodways

Protecting Albertans from future floods

River modelling and warning systems

By combining models of water flow, geological characteristics and weather trends, we can develop more accurate predictions of how and where water is going to go during a flood event.

Along with improved flood hazard maps, we can create better awareness of high-risk areas and reduce the danger arising from floods.

What we're going

The province has approved $8.7 million to update flood hazard mapping, including:

  • accelerated mapping of new areas
  • updating the maps of high risk communities

We are also working to determine how and why the 2013 floods happened. A review of Alberta's flood modelling practices is expected by spring 2014.

Watershed management

A watershed, or drainage basin, is an area of land that captures surface water and funnels it to a single point at a lower elevation.

When a watershed experiences an increase of water in its system — often due to excessive rain or snow melt — water levels throughout it can rise. If overwhelmed by excessive water, flooding may occur.

Properly managing our province's watersheds won't prevent flooding, but it will allow us to better prepare for future events. Some management methods include:

  • monitoring water use
  • monitoring storm runoff and drainage
  • monitoring land use in the watershed
  • avoiding mitigation efforts that will have a negative impact downstream

What we're doing

Monitoring and managing watersheds is an ongoing practice that will be accomplished by properly implementing other mitigation efforts. We will continue to consult Watershed Planning and Advisory Councils, and will protect and maintain wetlands that help capture excess water.

In August 2014, we launched the Watershed Resilience and Restoration Program. This Program aims to improve natural watershed functions in order to build greater long-term resiliency to floods and drought.

Other projects

Other province-wide projects are underway. These projects are focused on river modelling, prediction and warning systems.

Weather Forecasting Review Project

Evaluating the effect variations in weather forecasts have on river forecasting.

Status: Draft report under review

Performance Measures Project

Investigating worldwide best practices for river forecasting.

Status: Draft report under review

Assessing Flood Vulnerability Project

Investigating how changes in duration and intensity of rainfall affect the timing of flood events.

Status: Draft report under review

Post-2013 Event Hydrologic Assessments

Define the hydrologic and hydraulic characteristics of the 2013 flood to assess, with the affected community, the need for a full mapping review.

Status: Draft report under review