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Flood readiness - The City of Calgary

What The City is doing

We have plans in place that guide our response to floods of various sizes. Every event is different and actions leading up to and during a flood depend on the specifics of each event.

In general, we take these actions to mitigate the impact of a flood:

  • Manage the flow of water out of the Glenmore reservoir
  • Close the gates on storm water outfalls to prevent river water from entering the storm system
  • Deploy temporary lift stations to supplement pumping
  • Deploy temporary berms, flood tubes or sandbags to critical locations

The City of Calgary - Priorities during an emergency

The five pillars of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency are prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery. The City has two priorities during an emergency:

  1. Save lives and prevent injuries:
    The first and foremost priority is keeping citizens safe.
  2. Protect critical infrastructure:
    We must ensure water treatment facilities, electrical systems, communication infrastructure and public transportation remain operational, or we severely compromise response to and recovery from disaster.

Other flood preparation projects and information

The links below provide additional information on what we are doing to help prepare and deal with previous flooding:

  • Flood recovery and mitigation projects:
    Information on all current City of Calgary flood-related projects.
  • Calgary's Flood Resilient Future:
    Report from Expert Management Panel on River Flood Mitigation. In 2013, The City ​announced the creation of an expert management panel of nationally and internationally recognized professionals to steer The City's river flood mitigation program and find ways to reduce damage due to future river flooding.
  • Flood recovery framework:
    This report documents activities The Ci​ty will take as recovery from the June 2013 flood moves from immediate relief to long-term community restoration, rehabilitation and resiliency. It includes a timeline and key dates, a summary of emergency response actions and event impacts, and an overview of the recovery framework mission, priorities, key focus areas​, deliverables and timelines.

Working with other organizations

The City of Calgary, Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) and our partners, such as Environment Canada and Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP), continually monitor conditions such as snowpack, weather systems, river flow rates and ground saturation, all factors that can contribute to flooding.

The City works continually with partners and other levels of government to improve warning times. This includes ongoing consultation with organizations like Environment Canada, TransAlta and AESRD, as well as working to make river sensors stronger and adding more river cameras. However, the conditions that can lead to flooding are difficult to predict and do not offer much advance warning. The public can access the Province's most current river forecasts and forecasters comments.

Assessing risk and mitigation options

In 2014, we started planning a project to perform a social, economic, and environmental triple bottom line analysis to determine the most effective combination of flood mitigation investments and actions. Community feedback on how to best address flood mitigation will be an important part of the process.

Engagement will explore flood vulnerability of flood affected communities and citizen values related to flood risk. Feedback will be gathered on a community by community basis on proposed mitigation measures. This input will contribute to our decision-making and implementation processes.

Review the 2015 Flood Resiliency and Mitigation Report.​