Glenmore Dam ready for future floods, says city

A city official is assuring Calgarians there are no structural issues with the Glenmore Dam and it's ready for any potential high water this month.

Inspectors say dam is structurally sound after 2013 flood

John Jagorinec, the manager of water treatment in Calgary, says the Glenmore Dam is sound and ready for any future flooding. (CBC)

A city official is assuring Calgarians there are no structural issues with the Glenmore Dam and it's ready for any potential high water this month.

During last year's flood, water was flowing through the dam at 30 times its usual rate.

"The reservoir level was going up at 1.3 centimetres a minute so if you were standing on the bank of the Glenmore Reservoir, you could visually see the reservoir go up," said John Jagorinec, the city's manager of water treatment.

Eventually the water rushed more than two metres over the top of the dam, causing massive damage downstream in the Elbow River valley.

Jagorinec says inspections of the 81-year-old dam after the flood found it is still structurally sound.

"The base of this dam is as wide as it is long, so a lot of people don't really realize there's a lot of concrete in this dam."

Although it is sound, a proposal to build a diversion tunnel could help take some pressure off of the dam.

Water level dropped

As usual at this time of year, the Glenmore Reservoir has been lowered in recent weeks to ensure there is room to capture any extra water.

"We want to do that so if there are any significant rain events or flooding that might occur, that we have enough time to actually lower it to its lowest operating level to capture as much of that water as we can," said Jagorinec.

He credits upgrades to the city's water treatment system for ensuring the quality of drinking water was not affected during last year's flood.  

Jagorinec says there was so much sediment in the river water at times that they were essentially turning mud into drinking water.

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