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Springbank Off-stream Reservoir (Elbow River Basin)

The Springbank off-stream reservoir, combined with local mitigation measures in Bragg Creek and Redwood Meadows, will provide protection against 2013-level flood volumes for communities situated along the Elbow River.

Why it's needed

  • Government is committed to protecting the City of Calgary and downstream communities on the Elbow River by taking quick action to mitigate the impact of future flood events.
  • The peak flow rate of the Elbow River entering Glenmore Reservoir was approximately 1, 240 cubic metres per second during the June 2013 flood.
  • The Elbow River downstream from the Glenmore Reservoir can currently accommodate 180 cubic metres per second without taking flood precautions, like sandbagging.
  • A recent flood damage assessment for the City of Calgary suggests that there is up to $942 million at risk on the Elbow River in the event of a 1-in-200 year flood.

How it works

  • During flood conditions, a canal would carry water from the river to the off-stream reservoir, which would have a storage capacity of 70.2 million cubic metres. When the flood subsides, a modified channel would release the water back to the Elbow River in a controlled manner.
  • The Springbank Reservoir will work in tandem with Glenmore Reservoir to utilize the combined storage capacity.
  • A system of dykes and drains will provide local flood mitigation for the community of Bragg Creek. Engineering work on this project is already underway, led by Rocky View County

The Springbank Off-stream Reservoir and upstream local mitigation were chosen over the McLean Creek Dam because the Springbank option is less costly, will have less environmental impact, has shorter timelines, and will capture more runoff due to the Springbank Off-stream Reservoir's location further downstream.

The Springbank option is also:

  • Less sensitive to impacts from sediment and debris.
  • Closer to operational response teams and access roads, and less vulnerable to damage during extreme weather events.
  • Quicker to construct. Construction can be completed one year quicker than other projects and is less likely to be negatively impacted by weather related delays or risk of catastrophic failure.
  • More environmentally friendly than the McLean Creek Dam, which would require the removal of trees and vegetation from the reservoir area and would irreparably alter the habitat for wildlife and fish population.


Deltares review of Springbank and McLean Creek projects

Recommendations on the Elbow River major infrastructure decisions (GOA)

Conceptual animation of the Springbank project

Project status

  • Stantec Consulting has been retained for the design and engineering, and Environmental Impact Assessment.

  • Discussion with landowners is underway and will continue throughout the process

  • The field work required for the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for this project has begun. You can learn more about the EIA for this project by reading the Terms of Reference (PDF, 21 pages)

  • View the latest project perimeter map (PDF, 1 page)

  • Email questions or comments to

  • Public consultation has been a central aspect of this project. Future open house events will be scheduled at a later date.