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Flood Resilience Plan

Reducing flood damage is a collaborative effort among The City of Calgary, the provincial and federal governments, and Calgarians.

Calgary's Flood Mitigation Plan
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The Flood Resilience Plan is built on the findings from several technical studies as well as public engagement activities, conducted since 2013.

The Expert Management Panel on River Flood Mitigation organized by The City following the 2013 flood included several recommendations aimed at understanding flood risk and increasing resilience. Based on these recommendations, The City completed additional studies to better understand our flood risk. Some of these studies looked at: river changes, permanent flood barriers, groundwater and flood mitigation options.

To request copies of the detailed studies, please contact 311.

In 2016, The City of Calgary began work on a Flood Mitigation Measures Assessment that would inform recommendations regarding the future of Calgary’s flood mitigation and resiliency.

These recommendations were unanimously accepted by City Council in April 2017, and flood mitigation and resilience for Calgary was identified as one of Council’s top priorities.

The recommendations form Calgary's Flood Resilience Plan which consists of a combination of efforts working together to manage flood risks in Calgary. The plan aims to provide timely, cost-effective, and practical flood risk management, while respecting community values and staying adaptable to future uncertainties. The plan includes three components:

  • upstream risk mitigation
  • community-level risk mitigation
  • private property protection and floodplain policy

The City’s goal is protect our city from, at least, a 2013-level flood. These components, working together, will help us achieve that goal.

Upstream risk mitigation - Alberta government

Elbow River mitigation 

The Alberta government committed to building a new Springbank Off-stream Reservoir, also known as SR1. This reservoir will work in combination with City of Calgary improvements to the Glenmore Dam, which will mitigate damage from future floods up to the size of the flood experienced in 2013. These combined efforts will protect communities along the Elbow River, including large parts of Mission, the Beltline and east downtown.

SR1 will be a dry reservoir that will temporarily divert and store water from the Elbow River during a flood. The project is led by Alberta Transportation with support from Alberta Environment and Parks. For more information, review our frequently asked questions about the Springbank Off-stream Reservoir, and learn about other mitigation options that were reviewed.

Bow River mitigation

For the Bow River, the Alberta government is exploring potential reservoir sites upstream of Calgary. In 2017, a stakeholder group explored flood mitigation options, and their final report recommended further investigation in identifying reservoir sites. In late 2018, the Alberta government commissioned a study to explore three possible sites.

In addition to a future new reservoir, an agreement between the Alberta government and TransAlta was made to protect communities along the Bow River by changing operational practices at the Ghost Reservoir, which TransAlta uses for water storage to create electricity. The revised operational practices regulate the level at which the reservoir will be kept during flood season, so room is always available to capture flood water if necessary.

Community-level risk mitigation - The City of Calgary

We are working to increase resilience against flooding as much as possible within city limits. 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. The Alberta government committed $150 million to complement City funds for various flood mitigation and resilience projects. As of January 2019, some projects are complete, others are in the design phase, are under construction, or are in the technical study and community engagement stage.


Flood Mitigation

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Completion Timeline

12 St SE 2017
9 Ave SE 2020
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Completion Timeline

Western Headworks Diversion: site improvements 2018
Flood Recovery Erosion Control Program 2018
Downstream of Centre Street Gravel Bar Modification 2020
Mission island: Elbow River gravel bar 2019
Crowchild Trail NW: Bow River gravel bar 2021
Scollen Bridge: Elbow River gravel bar 2021
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Completion Timeline

Roxboro Sanitary Liftstation 2018
Sunnyside Sanitary Liftstation 2018
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Completion Timeline

Municipal Complex: drainage improvements 2016
Zoo flood mitigation 2018

Private property level protection - Calgarians

Citizens have an important role to play in flood resiliency. Being prepared for potential floods, incorporating flood protection measures for your property and following building regulations for flood zones will increase resiliency and decrease the likelihood of damage during the next flood.

As part of Calgary’s flood resilience plan, we are exploring potential policies, education programs, and building and development best practices to limit flood risk and damages.