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What The City does to prepare for flood season

We have two priorities during an emergency:

  1. Save lives and prevent injuries:
    The first priority is to keep citizens safe.
  2. Protect critical infrastructure:
    We must ensure water treatment facilities, electrical systems, communication infrastructure and public transportation systems remain operational. If any of these areas are compromised, our response to and recovery from disaster may be negatively impacted.

One of the significant accomplishments of 2013 was our ability to continue delivering quality drinking water despite unpredictable and extreme river conditions.

Each year, The City undertakes activities to ensure that our critical business functions will either continue to operate or recover rapidly from serious incidents or disasters, and ensure that critical infrastructure and public safety are protected.

Temporary barriers

Each spring construction crews responsible for installing temporary barriers review their plans, conduct site visits and identify obstacles that may be of concern. With this information crews can accurately determine which barriers need to be built first to maximize protection from potential flooding. This information is then shared with supervisors and foremen to ensure the Water team is prepared to act in event of an emergency. Construction crews will also assemble flood kits and practice deployment of barriers.

Operational readiness

Field crews operate and monitor outfall gates year-round to protect municipal infrastructure and mitigate potential damage from ice jams and floods. Prior to flood season, valves that control water mains adjacent to or under the river are tested to ensure they respond immediately should an emergency shutdown be required.

Outfall operation and pumping plans are updated as required to support temporary barrier plans, and lift station resilience plans are also reviewed.

Finally, crews prepare and pre-position pumps and other emergency supplies to facilitate prompt response once barriers are in place.

Staff training & Exercise

The Incident Command System (ICS) has been adopted across the world as the premier system for managing emergencies regardless of their  size, location or complexity.

Since 2013, 175 Water Services  employees have completed over four thousand hours training in ICS and emergency response, followed by a series of exercises putting new learnings into practice. This commitment to training ensures The City is ready to quickly identify, evaluate and respond to an emergency.

In the event of an emergency, Water’s version of the Emergency Operations Centre is activated, working closely with Calgary Emergency Management Agency and the Municipal Emergency Operations Centre (EOC).


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List Category: Flooding - What the City is doing

City employees discussing action plan during a flood event