CALGARY — The Government of Alberta, through its Community Resilience Program, is investing close to $30 million for 20 flood mitigation projects across the province this year.
According to a recent news release, with $150-million in dedicated funding going to the City of Calgary over 10 years, a total of $13.5 million was approved for three top priority mitigation projects, which include the downtown flood barrier that will extend from the West Eau Claire to the Reconciliation Bridge; separation of the upper plateau stormwater system from the neighbourhoods of Sunnyside-Hillhurst; and components that will support raising the replacement bridge deck for the 9th Avenue bridge to ensure it remains in service during a 100-year flood.
Other projects to benefit from the nearly $30-million provincial investment include drainage improvements and riverbank stabilization work on Cold Lake First Nation; construction of a new wetland on the east side of Taber to reduce stormwater flooding on the town’s industrial area; and a feasibility assessment of increasing the drawdown rate at TransAlta’s Ghost Reservoir to provide further flexibility during the modified operations period.
In addition to this funding, the government has also announced the undertaking of a new
assessment study for three potential upstream storage options identified in the Bow River Water Management Project report.
The report states historical records and estimates for the Bow River show dramatic variations in volume from year to year, which presents a “need to adapt to an ever-changing environment and often rapidly changing weather conditions.”
It also stated the flow of the Bow River is heavily influenced by water management infrastructure.
The assessments will entail a high-level hydrology study, geotechnical investigation, conceptual design of all three options, environmental assessments and a stakeholder review, explained the release.
“We know that floods are devastating to our communities and our economy, both here in Calgary and across the province,” said Alberta Minister of Environment and Parks Shannon Phillips in a statement.
“That’s why our government is committed to investing in flood resilience to better protect Albertans where they live and work. These investments will help ensure Alberta is better prepared than ever.”
The release notes $10 million will be invested in emergency preparedness to cover costs for emergency flood equipment, reimburse municipalities for additional flood mitigation and preparation costs, as well as establish a reserve for future emergencies to strengthen standby response capacity.
Since massive flooding occurred in Calgary and across the province in 2013, the Alberta government has invested more than $700 million in community-level resilience projects, erosion control, upstream storage, flood mapping, flood forecasting and emergency preparedness, the release adds.