City of Calgary prepares for 2023 flood season

Flooded streets in northeast Calgary on Sunday, June 14, 2020. Courtesy: Christian Ravary

The City of Calgary says its annual flood preparations are complete and it is ready for the start of river flood season.

The city says rain and an early melting snowpack have resulted in higher river flows than normal for mid-May, but Calgary’s chance of flooding this year is currently considered normal.

“We’re seeing below-average alpine snowpack levels this year. And our long-term forecasts predict normal precipitation and above-normal temperatures over the next couple of months,” said Sandy Davis, the river engineering team lead.

Conditions and forecasts can change dramatically and quickly for mountain-fed rivers, and Davis is reminding Calgarians that flooding can’t be completely prevented.

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“If your property is at risk of flooding, it’s important to take a few steps so you can be ready. And for those of us who love to enjoy our beautiful river pathways and parks, it’s also important to exercise caution around riverbanks because fast-moving water can cause erosion and destabilization,” says Davis.

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The city says since the 2013 flood, Calgary has built a flood-resilient city, thanks to significant infrastructure investments that have reduced the flood risk by 55 per cent to date.

The City of Calgary has additional flood mitigation projects such as the Sunnyside flood barrier and the Springbank Off-Stream Reservoir. These projects are slated for completion in 2025 and the city hopes Calgary’s flood risk will be reduced by a total of 70 per cent from these efforts.

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To stay safe, the city recommends staying informed on river conditions, which can change quickly with little warning. It says residents should review online flood maps, protect their home and belongings in the event a flood does happen and prepare an evacuation plan.

You can visit the City of Calgary website for daily river conditions, boating advisories and to sign up for alerts to stay informed.

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