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Bowness Flood Barrier: studies and reports

Reports to Council

Flood Mitigation Measures Assessment - Report to Council (April 2017)

This report is the recommended flood mitigation approach for Calgary. It is based on the technical studies listed below, expert advice, and public engagement. Council directed The City to execute the strategy outlined in the report. We continue to engage and work with communities as we explore and design flood mitigation projects in their neighbourhoods.

Conceptual studies

These studies identified the need for a flood barrier in Bowness. As work on the preliminary design of the permanent flood barrier continues, information on property context and technical data will be gathered. Project limitations and options will also be identified.

Permanent Flood Barrier Protection Assessment

Prepared by: Associated Engineering

The City of Calgary requested a study into whether flood barriers would be an effective solution to reduce flood risk in our city. The Study used a Triple Bottom Line (TBL) approach to evaluate the social, environmental and economic costs and benefits, using a specific process built for this study. The costs and benefits assessed barrier protection at various heights for many communities. Information from this study was included in our city-wide Flood Mitigation Measures Assessment.

Please note: Associated Engineering created conceptual designs for community-level flood barriers to help calculate rough costs and benefits, and to see if barriers in these general locations was technically feasible. It’s important to note that height, location on individual properties, and/or aesthetics of the concepts are not indicators or a foundation of the proposed community flood barriers.

Flood Mitigation Options Assessment

Prepared by: IBI Group and Golder Associates

After the 2013 flood, the Flood Expert Management Panel recommended a study to explore the impacts and benefits of mitigation measures beyond barriers to reduce flood risk in Calgary. This study looked at potential flood damages under different scenarios with different mitigation options in place. These options were combinations of reservoirs, flood barriers, stormwater improvements and emergency response measures.

The study compared the cost, benefits and social-environmental sustainability of each mitigation scenario. They were evaluated on social well-being, environmental protection, economic well-being and ease of implementation. The assessment criteria for each scenario was based on technical studies and expertise, international best practices and public engagement.

The recommended flood mitigation scenario included:

  • upstream reservoirs on the Bow and the Elbow,
  • small barriers at specific locations along the Bow, and
  • policy changes.
This combination of measures provided the greatest flood protection, was the most environmentally sustainable and provided the timeliest and equitable protection to flood-prone communities.

Please note: Rough costs were compared to benefits for each mitigation scenario. As each individual project design progresses, the cost-benefit of each project will be refined and re-assessed. This will be done on an individual project level and within the context of how it contributes to flood resiliency for the city as a whole.

The cost-benefit is assessed using a triple-bottom-line approach that considers not only financial costs, but also social and environmental impacts and benefits.

Preliminary design phase studies

All finalized reports and studies gathered in 2018-19 as part of this phase will be posted here.