Alberta doles out cash for dams, drones and water pumps to cut flood damage

Communities from Whitecourt to Crowsnest Pass will receive funding from the Alberta government to buy tools to quickly mitigate damage in the event of a flood.

At-risk communities across the province receive funding

MLA Deborah Drever, who represents Calgary-Bow, announced how funding would be used to buy new equipment. (Monty Kruger/CBC)

Alberta communities from Whitecourt to Crowsnest Pass will be boosting their flood prevention tools with new high-volume water pumps, drones and portable dams.

Alberta Municipal Affairs announced how it would dole out cash earmarked to reduce river flooding damage that has ravaged communities in past years.

At the announcement Monday in High River, the site of devastating flooding in 2013, MLA Deborah Drever said 13 communities, including Calgary, would split $2 million for the flood damage-reducing tools. 

A further 18, all of which also are considered "at-risk" of flooding, have received $10,000 each to re-do flood-readiness plans and to submit pitches for further provincial funding.

"While we hope for the best this flood season, we are putting in the work to prepare just in case," said Drever, who represents Calgary-Bow. "We all know that emergencies and disasters can happen, so it is vital that we are ready to respond."

The City of Calgary is receiving $1 million of the pool, the department said.

The tools are to prevent damage to homes, businesses and infrastructure when a flood is underway, Drever said. The new barriers, for example, are easier and faster to set up than building permanent ones.

The province is adding more tools to its stockpile near High River in case municipalities require more equipment.

In total, the province has set aside $10 million for these initiatives, including any future proposals from the 18 communities.

Flood risk 'greatly reduced'

The government isn't expecting a particularly bad flood season this summer, according to Scott Long, executive director of the Alberta Emergency Management Association.

Several communities in southern Alberta suffered early spring flooding as rain mixed with melting snowpack — "the largest one we've seen in quite some time," Long told reporters at the conference.

"May was generally hot. We had some great weather, very little rain. That has continued to shrink the snowpack," he said.

"We are always preparing and ready to respond but I'm happy to say that the risk is definitely greatly reduced."

Earlier this spring, the province announced a new Alberta Community Resilience Program to fund flood mitigation projects.

The City of Calgary, for example, was granted $13.5 million for various projects, from raising the Ninth Avenue bridge to building a flood barrier along a stretch of the Bow River.


Rachel Ward


Rachel Ward is a journalist with The Fifth Estate. You can reach her with questions or story ideas at

With files from Monty Kruger