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City of Calgary preparing for potential flooding this year

The Calgary Stampede grounds and Saddledome are flooded due to the heavy rains in Calgary on June 21, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

The City of Calgary says it is taking precautions to mitigate flooding as the city enters high river flow season next week.

According to a Thursday morning press release, these measures include monitoring the rivers and any large rain systems that can cause river flooding. The city will also watch the snowpack in the mountains as it starts to melt.

The Glenmore Reservoir and Ghost Reservoir have been lowered to create more room for potential flood water, and crews have tested infrastructure and stockpiled materials for temporary barriers, if needed.

Read more: Calgary flood: 5 years later – Photos show dramatic changes from then to now

“Heavy rainfalls west of Calgary are more so the trigger for river flooding,” Sandy Davis, the City of Calgary’s team lead for river engineering, said in the press release.

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The city also says it is better positioned to be protected from flooding, pointing to infrastructure investments such as the downtown flood barrier. The barrier, which runs from the Peace Bridge to Reconciliation Bridge, will help protect Calgarians, particularly in the downtown, Chinatown, East Village and Eau Claire areas.

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Construction has also begun on the Springbank Off-Stream Reservoir (SR1) west of the city.

“Once complete, SR1 is a complete game changer for Calgary, protecting thousands of residents that live and work along the Elbow River and downtown Calgary from a 2013-size flood,” Davis said.

“This infrastructure will reduce damages by over $3 billion through the next century, safeguard Calgary’s downtown, the region’s economic engine, protect critical public infrastructure like roads and CTrain lines and vital services like our drinking water and wastewater treatment plants that we all depend on.”

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Read more: $744M contract awarded for Springbank reservoir west of Calgary

The City of Calgary and the Alberta government are also assessing the feasibility of three potential sites for a new reservoir on the Bow River, and a recommendation is expected in 2023.

Calgarians are reminded to prepare for potential floods and exercise caution around riverbanks because the fast-moving water can cause erosion and destabilization.

For more information about flood preparation, visit the City of Calgary’s official flood information webpage.

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