Alberta pledges $600M for flood mitigation projects

The Alberta government announced Tuesday it is committing $600 million over three years for flood mitigation initiatives.

3-year commitment includes feasibility study for underground diversion from Elbow River to Bow River

South Alberta flood mitigation

8 years ago
Duration 2:19
The Alberta government lays commits $600M for flood mitigation in southern Alberta.

The Alberta government announced Tuesday it is committing $600 million over three years for flood mitigation initiatives.

About $325 million of that will go to the Resilience and Mitigation Program (RAMP), which funds community-level projects such as berms, dikes and riverbank erosion control.

Some of the priority projects include:

  • A dry dam at the confluence of McLean Creek and the Elbow River to provide flood mitigation for Bragg Creek, Redwood Meadows and Calgary.
  • A southern diversion on the Highwood River to direct floodwaters around High River and provide water storage options for irrigation.
  • A study to determine the feasibility of diverting water during flood conditions underground along 58th Avenue from the Glenmore Reservoir to the Bow River.
  • Also, an off-stream storage site near Springbank Road west of Calgary will be built to divert and store water from the Elbow River.

“Moving forward with the projects and funding announced today is an important step toward reducing the impact of future floods on Alberta’s people, infrastructure, economy and environment,” said Environment and Sustainable Resource Development Minister Robin Campbell.

Flood symposium

A one-day flood symposium was also held in Calgary Tuesday to discuss what the province has done and will do to prevent future floods.

The provincial government says it will spend $600 million over three years on flood mitigation projects, including a dry dam west of Calgary to protect Bragg Creek that is illustrated above. (Artist rendering/Government of Alberta)

The Alberta government hosted the event to discuss drought resiliency, mitigation options for Alberta's most flood-prone river basins and the latest update on snowpack data and river forecasting. 

A study is underway on a diversion tunnel under Calgary's to link the Glenmore Reservoir with the Bow River. The project could take three to five years to be finalized, said Campbell on Tuesday.

"For us to say that, you know, the plan's in place and we're moving forward and we have a date — we just can't say right now because we don't know what the stakeholders are going to say."

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi said he likes the plan as it would prevent a major flood from ever hitting the city again.

"Diverting the water, or holding back the water, is really the best thing we can do. And, of course, holding it back from the Elbow protects most of downtown Calgary and that's an important thing as well." 

The province released two videos to explain the flood mitigation work. On mobile? Click here to see an animation of the High River diversion. Click here to see an animation on the Springbank Road offstream storage.


  • An earlier version of this story incorrectly said the feasibility study would look into an underground diversion of the Bow River to the Glenmore Reservoir. In fact the study will examine diverting water underground along 58th Avenue from the reservoir to the Bow River.
    Apr 30, 2014 11:40 AM MT