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Ward 1 News: July 14, 2014 Flood Monitoring

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July 14, 2014

No rain is expected until Thursday, July 17, 2014. Isolated showers may occur between Thursday and Saturday, but it is not expected to result in any appreciable changes in river flows. This is the last update from Water Services for the season. Please visit the links below to view river flow rates.

Advisories and Warnings

River Flow Rates Bow River Sub Basin

AESRD River Forecast’s Comments

Environment Canada’s Weather Forecast - Calgary

Environment Canada’s Weather Forecast - Bragg Creek

Environment Canada’s Weather Forecast - Banff

July 10, 2014

Water Services predicts scattered showers, approximately 1mm per day, for both the Bow and Elbow catchments today and Friday. Saturday is expected to be clear, while Sunday to Wednesday is forecasted with scattered showers, though it is not expected to result in any appreciable changes in river flows. Elbow river upstream of Glenmore Reservoir is anticipated to decrease slightly over the next few days.

July 9, 2014

Streamflows in both the Bow and Elbow Rivers are dropping, however, the peak runoff season extends to the middle of July. Please respect pathway closures and construction barricades, as hazards such as bank stability and erosion sites are current concerns. Debris, erosion sites, channel and streamflow changes still present potential hazards to boaters. Stay connected and get informed - follow The City on Twitter, like on Facebook, read, The City's news blog, and download City apps. For more information, go to this week’s flood preparation update.

Flood Mitigation Update - Expert Mgmt. Panel Report and Glenmore Reserviour Division Tunnel

The Expert Management Panel on river flood mitigation was tasked to find ways of reducing damage caused by future river flood events. Working with the support of City staff and industry experts, the Panel has developed a comprehensive report outlining 27 recommendations in six key action areas. Click here for the full report, or, view all the reports within the updates section.

Among the recommendations, the report includes an idea proposed by the Province's flood panel - the Glenmore Reservoir Diversion tunnel.  Calgary's panel recommended that this potential project be included in the Province of Alberta's analysis of available capital work options for flood mitigation,including the proposed upstream projects at Maclean Creek and Springbank, as well as include engagement of The City of Calgary in the decision making process.
City Administration has done an initial review of the Panel's report and will continue to work through the recommendations to develop a plan for how The City can action these recommendations. This plan will be sent to the Priorities and Finance Committee in the fall of this year for Council's consideration. More information will be shared with Calgarians as the process develops. 

July 7, 2014

The forecast for the week is good with the potential for minor amounts of rain on Thursday and Friday.  No rain forecast for Monday through to Wednesday. At this time, flow rates are expected to remain steady over the next 24 hours.

July 3, 2014

There is a thunderstorm alert for Central Alberta. The areas of the Bow Basin will be affected, however only a small portion is expected to receive rain (potentially up to 2mm). Water works will continue to monitor this system throughout the day. Flow rates on the Bow River are expected to increase slightly due to operations of the dam, but no issues are expected. The forecast is clear for the weekend with possible rain in the long term forecast.

July 2, 2014

Let's keep safe this stampede! Note that a boating advisory is in place for the Elbow and Bow River. Remember that Calgary is always at rick of spot flooding from severe summer storms. To learn about sanitary and storm sewer backups, basement seepage, and water running in through basement windows due to poor drainage, go to The City of Calgary's Flood Monitoring Update page.

June 30, 2014

Scattered thunder showers over both river catchments (1-3mm) today with the possibility of some localized heavier showers (up to 10mm). This rainfall is not expected to result in any appreciable changes in river flows. River flows remain within seasonal norms.  Flows have not changed appreciably in the past 12 hours. After today, no precipitation is forecast for the remainder of the week.

Definitions – Understanding Provincial Warnings 

Spring Runoff Advisory means that stream levels are rising or expected to rise due to snowmelt and no major flooding is expected.  Minor flooding in low-lying areas is possible.  Anyone situated close to the streams affected (property owners and the general public is advised to be cautious of rising levels.

High Streamflow Advisory means that stream levels are rising or expected to rise rapidly and no major flooding is expected.  Minor flooding in low-lying areas is possible.  Anyone situated close to the streams affected (campers, fishermen, boaters and the general public) is advised to be cautious of the rising levels.

Flood Watch means that stream levels are rising and will approach or may exceed bank full.  Flooding of areas adjacent to these streams may occur.  Anyone situated close to the streams is advised to take appropriate precautionary measures.

Flood Warning means that rising river levels will result in flooding of areas adjacent to the streams affected.  Anyone situated close to the river should take appropriate measures to avoid flood damage. 

River Safety

Please be careful! River safety becomes even more important as the weather improves. For example, changes to streambeds, debris and erosion sites pose hazards, regardless of the stream flow.

The Calgary Fire Department is reminding Calgarians to avoid any type of boating activities along the Bow and Elbow Rivers. An advisory was issued earlier this month in relation to the debris and other changes to the rivers as a result of the 2013 Flood.

The Calgary Fire Department also advises Calgarians to stay off of river banks as increased water flow can cause the banks to become unstable and collapse. Water Services will issue updates on water levels as required.

Business Units are conducting media availabilities over the past two weeks to facilitate the flood's anniversary press coverage. Check out the City's news blog. As well, City of Calgary staff have created an archive of flood facts, photos, videos and press releases for the media and public.

Ghost Reservoir Agreement

The Alberta government and TransAlta have reached an agreement on using Ghost Reservoir to protect communities from flooding! The revised operating pattern of Ghost Reservoir would involve holding the reservoir at elevation 3902 feet until July 31, approximately six weeks longer than the current operating pattern, providing greater capacity to hold water during flood conditions. Full supply level at Ghost Reservoir is elevation 3910 feet.

For media inquiries please contact Jason Penner at (780) 446-1630 or email

Flood Preparation Update

•The Province’s new river monitoring app launched Monday, May 26, 2014 for Android devices. An iPhone version is expected in June.

 • City staff are working with individuals who are planning flood prevention measures on their property to ensure they meet development requirements and do not negatively impact others.

• Much of the public focus recently has been on physical preparation for potential flooding. However, The City continues with its people strategies, working with community associations and agencies to support vulnerable populations.

Watch the Director of Water Resources, Rob Spackman, talk about some of the ways that The City plans to keep citizens safe and protect critical infrastructure in the event of a flood.

On May 15, river engineers began monitoring the rivers twice daily and providing analysis and forecasts biweekly. Watch the program manager of Water Resources, Rick Valdarchi, explain streamflow monitoring, what is being monitored, and how runoff influence river flows.


• Backflow devices can prevent sewage and storm water from backing up and flooding basements. However, backflow devices should be checked once a year to ensure they are operating properly. A qualified plumber can provide more information on installation and maintenance.
• Fluctuations in the flows of the river are normal during the runoff season, May 15-July 15. There are the result of snowmelt caused by warmer temperatures, precipitation and management of dams.
• Alberta Environment has a web page which features data on streamflows, precipitation and snowpack.

Flood Preparation FAQs

Check out The City of Calgary’s new flood preparation Frequently Asked Questions brochure. Based on 311 inquiries, public open houses and calls to the councillors’ offices, many of your questions should have answers here. After reading the brochure, if your inquiry is still unanswered, please feel free to contact Ward 1's office at (403) 268-2430.

For information on seasonal flooding monitoring and preparation, visit The City of Calgary's flood preparation website.  While you are there, sign up for email updates and download the City news app. To say current, ‘like’ us on Facebook - The City of Calgary, and follow us on Twitter @cityofcalgary.


This content represents the personal views and opinions of the Councillor and should not be taken as a statement of policy of The City of Calgary. The inclusion of any external content does not imply endorsement by The City of Calgary.

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