A few options are available to help identify if your property is in a flood-prone area. We recommend starting your search by visiting the Government of Alberta Flood Hazard Map.
Building and renovating
The City of Calgary’s Regulatory Flood Map shows the Floodway, Flood Fringe and Overland Flow areas on the Bow River, Elbow River, Nose Creek and West Nose Creek. These distinct areas have different rules and regulations for development. Click a purple square to open the map that shows your property and determine which area you are in. Once you’ve confirmed your area, check the Land Use Bylaw for rules that pertain to your property.
Depending on your area, Calgary’s Land Use Bylaw sets out the allowable types of development, along with special requirements needed to address safety concerns. Please refer to Calgary’s Land Use Bylaw, Part 3 Division 3 or contact the Planning Services Centre.
The City can provide permit applicants and interested property owners with both the official flood elevation level and recommended flood elevation level (post 2013). The elevation determines the minimum height at which the main floor of a building must be built. We provide this information when a permit application is submitted, or upon request. Calgarians can call 311 for flood elevation information.
Land Use Bylaw
The Calgary Land Use Bylaw is the official information source for new building and renovation regulations for each of the flood-prone areas. The information provided in this section is intended to provide a general idea of the main differences among the areas. If you are interested in pursuing work within a flood-prone area, please read the Bylaw for complete information.
New buildings or structures cannot be built in the floodway, except if you are replacing a single-family or semi-detached home, backyard suite, or accessory building, and only if it will be on the same footprint as the as the existing structure.
Flood fringe and overland flow areas
New buildings and significant additions to existing buildings may be constructed in the flood fringe and overland flow areas, if designed to prevent structural damage by floodwaters. Depending on the location of the parcel and building, the Land Use Bylaw identifies design requirements for specific situations.
Official flood elevation levels
These levels were identified by the Government of Alberta before the 2013 flood, and they remain in force as the official authority of minimum elevation requirements for new building construction.
Recommended flood elevation levels
Because Calgary’s 2013 flood was of such a large scale, we now have more information about the impact of flood waters on our city. The recommended flood elevation was established by The City, and is typically higher than the official flood elevation levels, based on learnings from the 2013 flood, including flood modelling studies. The recommended flood elevation levels are not legally binding, they are recommendations only.
Learn more about how to prepare for a flood event.