The City of Calgary is warning people who live close to rivers that their basements may flood if it rains a lot over the next few days. 

The city opened its water emergency operations centre Monday morning in anticipation of rising river levels later this week.

Flow in the Bow River and Elbow River is increasing and that could cause basement seepage in some low-lying areas.

The level in the Glenmore Reservoir is also being increased.

Rob Pritchard, the city's general manager of utilities and environment, said the reservoir is filled each June as the drinking water supply must last all summer. 

But Pritchard said the reservoir can only hold so much water, so more is now being released downstream.

"We do anticipate doing some sand-bagging on the lower Elbow," Pritchard said. "We've had to increase the flows downstream and we will be responding accordingly if the sorts of flows that we are predicting over the next few days materialize, the reservoir in fact could fill up very quickly."

Some neighbourhoods might flood

The areas susceptible to basement seepage are Bowness, Parkdale  Sunnyside, Chinatown, Eau Claire, City Hall, East Village, Hillhurst, Downtown, Inglewood, Bonnybrook, Riverdale, Elbow Park, Stanley Park, Parkhill, Rideau Park, Mission and Roxboro.

City officials are recommending people in those areas take the following precautions:

  • Install the cap in the basement sewer floor drain. If the cap cannot be found, stuff rags down the floor drain tightly enough to help prevent sewage from backing into the basement. Then secure the rags by placing a heavy object on top. Plug basement toilets, shower drains, sinks, and sewer standpipe openings in the same way. (The standpipe may be located by following the discharge hose from a clothes washer or a water softener)
  • Move valuables such as paintings, photographs and personal and legal documents from the basement or a lower floor to an upper floor.
  • Remove newspapers from basements because wet newspaper can stain carpets with ink.
  • Do not sleep in the basement until the river level recedes.
  • Residents who have basement sumps should check them for water periodically and make sure they are working.

Crowfoot ferry closed

The provice closed the Crowfoot Ferry near Bassano because of high water levels in the Bow River. The ferry carries Range Road 201 over the Bow River five kms south of Highways 1 and Highway 56. Motorists are being asked to use Highway 842 to cross the river in that area.