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Flooding in Calgary: Mitigation and Resilience


Since 2013, we have been working to better understand the flow on our rivers, and how our rivers change.

The Expert Management Panel on River Flood Mitigation, organized by The City following the 2013 flood, included several recommendations aimed at understanding flood risk. It is one of The City of Calgary's core strategies for building flood resiliency.

The flood risk in Calgary depends on:

  • The flow rates we can expect on our rivers during future floods.
  • The amount and type of development within the floodplain.

Historically, the damage caused by flooding did not outweigh the benefits of developing in the floodplain.

However, the amount and type of development in the floodplain has changed. Today, there is a significant amount of property and infrastructure in the Bow and Elbow floodplains, including the downtown core.

Understanding our flood risk - ongoing studies

As recommended byThe Expert Management Panel on River Flood Mitigation, we are working on several studies to better understand our flood risk, including river morphology, permanent barriers, and groundwater.

To request copies of the detailed Flood Mitigation Study, Fish Morphology Study or the full Barrier Study please contact 311.

River flood mitigation and recovery projects

Since the 2013 flood, the City and the Province have committed over $150 million for various flood mitigation and resilience projects throughout Calgary.

To date we have completed 11 of the Expert Management Panel recommendations, and the remaining 16 are currently in progress. Mitigation work that is already complete or is underway has reduced Calgary’s exposure to flood damage by about 30 per cent compared to 2013.


Flood Mitigation

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Flood Mitigation Measures Assessment

In 2016, The City of Calgary undertook a Flood Mitigation Measures Assessment to develop recommendations regarding the future of Calgary’s flood mitigation and resiliency.

These recommendations were unanimously accepted by City Council on April 10th, 2017, and flood mitigation and resilience for Calgary has been identified as one of Council’s top priorities.

Upstream Mitigation for Calgary

On the Bow River - Alberta Environment and Parks is responsible for the Bow River Water Management Project, which addresses flood mitigation for the Bow River Basin.

On the Elbow River - Alberta Environment and Parks and Alberta Transportation are working together to deliver the Springbank Off-stream Reservoir, also known as SR1, a dry reservoir that will store water temporarily during a flood.