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Bowness Flood Barrier – Feasibility Evaluation

The project team will evaluate the feasibility of the flood barrier taking into consideration the social, economic and environmental impacts. The results of this evaluation along with a recommendation will be presented to Council in April 2021 via the Utilities and Corporate Services Committee meeting. Public input during this meeting is welcome.  

Below is a summary of the evaluation criteria that will be used.


Evaluates the proposed flood barrier’s impact on the community’s well-being. This includes the impact to safety, riverfront property owners, the neighbourhood, the health and well-being of residents, ability and need to evacuate, etc.

The weighting of the following criteria and the evaluation is informed by input we receive from riverfront property owners and the from the broader community. Visit the project’s engagement page to share your feedback until Feb. 28, 2021. A summary of the feedback received from the community will also be posted there.

Criteria Explanation
Community equity  Contributes to providing 1 in 200-year flood protection in combination with the upstream reservoir (note: this is the same overland flood protection target as other Calgary communities. How The City achieves that level of flood protection differs between locations in recognition of each community’s unique conditions.
Community safety Protects the diverse Bowness community and population, including seniors, owners, renters, businesses and services. Aids in emergency response and the potential evacuation of vulnerable populations.
Financial impacts to flood-affected residents Considers the potential of property damages and loss of valuables from overland flooding. Potential for increased property values with protection in place.
Community well-being Considers emotional distress caused by dealing with flooding and perceived future flood risk.
Construction impacts Considers concerns regarding the disruptions to the community and riverfront owners that construction may bring.
Riverfront land aesthetics and enjoyment impacts Considers concerns regarding the loss of aesthetic appeal and land enjoyment to riverfront residents’ property.
Financial impacts to riverfront landowners Considers concerns regarding perceived financial impacts to riverfront landowners.


Evaluates whether the proposed flood barrier:

  • Reflects an investment in infrastructure that is affordable and cost-effective.
  • Promotes an environment that attracts and retains local businesses and makes it a desirable area where citizens want to live.

This evaluation is informed by technical data from studies, regulatory requirements and analysis from experts in each discipline.

Criteria Explanation
Protects dwellings and businesses, critical infrastructure and essential services and transportation corridors Examines reduction in potential losses using The City’s damage model.
Cost of project Based on updated cost estimate determined at the end of the feasibility phase.
Timeliness of implementation  Considers the risk of exposure to a flood before community is protected. Considers how quickly it can be implemented and does it complement future flood mitigation measures.
Regulatory complexity Considers the complexity of regulating land use and development versus structural mitigation measures.
Economic efficiency Benefit / cost ratio.
Benefits to flood resilience across Calgary Considers how operation of upstream reservoirs could be utilized to protect communities across Calgary.


Evaluates how the proposed flood barrier impacts our water resources, natural areas and wildlife populations in the area.

This evaluation is informed by technical data from studies, regulatory requirements and analysis from environmental scientists.

Criteria Explanation
Maintains fluvial processes Let the floodplain flood. Give room for the river.
Maintains existing vegetation (tree/shrubs) and species habitat Minimizes impact on the urban forest. Minimizes the impact on the species present along the alignment.
Protects river water quality by reducing risk of contamination Reduces the risk of overland flooding that can contaminate surface water, and reduces risk of contamination to the river from water flowing back into the river.

This information has no legal status and cannot be used as an official interpretation of the various bylaws, codes and regulations currently in effect. The City of Calgary accepts no responsibility to persons relying solely on this information. Web pages are updated periodically. ​