Drumheller braces for flooding

Edmonton will be spared the unprecedented flooding that has hit many Alberta communities this weekend, officials say.

Red Deer and Drumheller are the next southern Alberta communities to face swollen rivers, but Edmonton will be spared the worst of the unprecedented flooding that has hit many Alberta communities this weekend.

In Drumheller, emergency workers were building dikes but fear that they won't be enough to contain the Red Deer River, which may continue rising until Monday night.

About 2,700 people had been evacuated by Sunday night.

While some areas of Red Deer, upstream from Drumheller, have been issued evacuation alerts, the situation appeared easier because few homes were in danger of flooding and a dam was holding back some of the water.

Edmonton water lower than initially feared

Edmonton police were going door-to-door in some low-lying neighbourhoods early Sunday evening warning residents about the potential danger. But later, the city said the North Saskatchewan River poses only a minimal risk of massive flooding because "levels have not risen to the degree that was expected earlier today."

Early Sunday, Edmonton had considered issuing evacuation notices to 1,200 homes but then concluded "it does not appear that an evacuation will be necessary."

Drayton Valley to the southwest, which is also on the North Saskatchewan, has been issued a flood warning.

A campground and a few homes have been evacuated outside the town, and emergency officials are working to protect its water-treatment plant from the potential flood.

Some Calgary residents going home

Heavy rains and flooding prompted Calgary to announce a state of emergency for the first time ever on Saturday.

Alberta has not seen a flood of this magnitude in 200 years, Environment Minister Guy Botillier told reporters in Red Deer on Sunday.

About 1,500 Calgarians were forced from their homes Saturday night after the Glenmore reservoir spilled into the Elbow River.

"There are literally hundreds of homes that have been impacted," Calgary Mayor Dave Bronconnier said.

By late Sunday, the city began to review flooded areas district by district and let a few residents return to their homes.

Use less water, city says

Calgary said the flooding has limited the city's ability to treat water, so "it is highly likely that the city will introduce mandatory water restrictions" on Monday at the highest level.

Demand on Sunday was 450 megalitres, but the plants could only produce 360 megalitres.

"The only way to continue to provide safe drinking water is for Calgarians to lower the demand immediately," the city said.

Evacuation order lifted in Sundre

Meanwhile, evacuation orders have been lifted in and around High River and Sundre.

In Sundre, 800 were ordered out Saturday. They were forced to leave after water from the Red Deer River kept rising. Many people sheltered at Olds College, about 40 kilometres away.

The evacuation order for Sundre residents was lifted Sunday morning, but the town is keeping its local state of emergency in place, and a boil water advisory for everyone on well systems.

West of Calgary, near Cochrane, the Trans-Canada Highway remains closed because of 1.5 metres of water on a low-lying section of roadway.

Reporters asked Prime Minister Paul Martin about the flooding in Alberta at an event in Ontario. Martin said there are established programs in place to deal with natural disasters.

Campers airlifted to safety

Campers south of Calgary near Okotoks had to be rescued by helicopter from rising flood waters. About 50 campers ignored earlier requests to leave, and then found their escape routes had been cut off.

There are no reports of any serious injuries, but the costs are "literally off the radar screen," Botillier said.