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Bowness Flood Barrier

The Bow River is an integral part of the Bowness community. Being so close to the river means there will always be a risk of flooding. In Bowness, flooding can happen when the flow rate is approximately 850 cubic metres per second (m3/s), which has a 12 per cent chance of occurring each year.

In 2016, The City hired external consultants to update the Provincial Flood Damage Assessment study for Calgary, and to assess and recommend future resiliency and mitigation measures. The resulting document, the Flood Mitigation Measures Assessment (FMMA) report, was approved by Council in spring of 2017. Recommendations include a combination of watershed-, community- and property-level mitigation solutions to create a flexible and adaptable flood risk management program. The Bowness flood barrier project was one of the recommendations from this study.

Project Details

This project is still in the early preliminary design stage. The FMMA recommended barriers as the best type of flood protection infrastructure and once a design consultant has been hired, it will be their role to gather detailed information about each property, and consult with homeowners and community members to develop recommendations for exactly what the barriers could look like.

Once a new upstream reservoir is constructed, this project will work in combination with that, as well as changes to operations of TransAlta’s Ghost Reservoir, to provide enhanced flood protection for Bowness. The construction of barriers will help to protect Bowness from flood events up to 1,200 m3/s. This flow rate represents a one-in-20-year flood, which there is a five per cent chance of realizing every year.

The map below highlights the area of land (purple and yellow area) The City is trying to protect from future flooding. The City is proposing building permanent flood barriers that will extend from the CP Rail tracks to the Shouldice Bridge.

Conceptual work has been completed, however, detailed design has not yet started. Input from citizens is an important piece of the detailed design process. Engagement with residents began in early 2018 and will be ongoing through to the completion of the project.

Much of the riverfront property is privately owned in Bowness and The City will work with individual property owners to gather their input, and discuss their concerns and ideas as the detailed design work gets underway.

Christie Park Drainage Improvements 
Click on image to enlarge

Next Steps

The City of Calgary is in the process of hiring an engineering design consultant through a competitive Request for Proposal (RFP) process, which closed on May 4, 2018.

Once a successful candidate is awarded the contract, they will begin gathering all the information and details required to determine and develop the best flood protection strategy for Bowness. This stage will require site visits at impacted properties, consultation with homeowners and community members, surveys of property and riverbank areas, geotechnical investigations, groundwater studies, etc.

Project Timelines



Bowness Barrier

Community Engagement and Design

2018 - 2020

Detailed Design Complete


Construction Phase

2021 - 2024

Construction Complete


Related information

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

Glossary of Terms

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