The Bog: The Alberta WaterPortal Blog

The Bog is where thoughts, opinions, discussion pieces, and action converge. Influential thinkers from the water community are invited to share their insights on current or controversial water topics. Please note that the views expressed herein are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Alberta WaterPortal.

Government of Alberta budget overview

On 27 October the Government of Alberta released their budget. We've summarized the key water-related elements in a  budget overview.

 

High River flood mitigation projects and Disaster Recovery Program changes announced on 2 November

Further to the announcements on 26 October outlined below, on 2 November the province announced $30 million in multi-year funding for the Town of High River flood mitigation projects. Funded projects include:

  • Design and construction of the southwest berm
  • Design and construction of the 5th Street berm
  • Lineham Bridge rehabilitation, and
  • A working group to assess upstream and downstream impacts of the planned flood defences (this group will be supported by an additional $2 million for flood modeling).

The decision was made not to build a diversion for High River due to concerns about environmental sustainability and cost effectiveness.

Representation on the working group will come from the province, Town of High River, Municipal District of Foothills, and the Highwood Management Plan Public Advisory Committee.

Changes were also announced for the Disaster Recovery Program (DRP):

  • The government will cease collection on overpayments for files of $5,000 or less (affecting nearly 550 outstanding case files).
  • In about 75 cases where overpayments are more than $5,000, files will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

·         The government will be closing nearly 450 files that are classified as inactive (applicants will be contacted before the close out). 

26 October announcements

On 26 October the Government of Alberta announced a range of flood mitigation projects, and ongoing funding of $150 million over ten years, to help protect communities along the Elbow River and Calgary from a repeat of the costly 2013 flood. Here's the list of work announced and briefly what it means.

1. Springbank Off-stream Reservoir chosen over other options including McLean Dam

McLean Creek Flood Storage (McLean Dam) is off the table, and the Glenmore Diversion (also known as the Calgary flood tunnel or “the aqueduct”) is on the shelf. 

Working in tandem with the Glenmore Reservoir, the Springbank Off-stream Reservoir aims to provide protection for a 2013-level flood on the Elbow River. During floods a canal would carry water from the river to the off-stream reservoir (capacity 70.2 million cubic metres). After floods the excess water would be returned to the Elbow River.

Read the independent review of the Bragg Creek / Springbank Off-stream flood storage and the McLean Creek Flood Storage.

Watch a conceptual animation of the Springbank Off-stream Reservoir. 

2. Localized Mitigation for Bragg Creek and Redwood Meadows

Dikes and drains in Bragg Creek with protection to 2013 level with freeboard (an extra level of protection above the base flood elevation).

Redwood Meadows’ work will be determined after Bragg Creek, as Redwood Meadows is downstream of Bragg Creek.

3. Bow River Working Group

A stakeholder representative group tasked with providing assessment on future flood protection along the Bow River. It is expected this group would continue existing collaborative Bow River group work undertaken to date.

4. Five River Hazard Studies

This work involves the production of new flood inundation and flood hazard maps for the Bow, Elbow, Sheep, Highwood, and Peace Rivers.

What’s next?

The announcements signify a breakthrough for flood mitigation action in, and upstream, of Calgary. However it's no secret there’s a lot of work to be done. The announcements have also triggered many questions surrounding the operation of the Springbank Off-stream reservoir including:

  • Would the Glenmore Reservoir or Springbank Off-stream reservoir be filled first?
  • What cues will prompt the flood and compensate model to be deployed?
  • How quickly will the reservoir be drained, keeping in mind groundwater flows?

Numerous questions have also popped up around what’s happening for people impacted by flooding in areas along different rivers, or in different watershed basins, and if the River Hazard Studies will involve traditional flood mapping or other techniques.

Share your questions

Comment on this blog to let us know your questions, thoughts, or concerns about flood mitigation across Alberta – we’ll do our best to respond to them!

 

Welcome to the September edition of the Roundup. If you have content you would like included in our next edition of the Roundup please contact us. Happy reading! 


RedDeerRiver RickyLeong CC 
"Red Deer River" by Ricky Leong is licenced under CC BY 2.0.   

Opinions and Columns

Note: these pieces do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Alberta WaterPortal

Roy MacGregor: In Globe debate, leaders ignore Canada’s No. 1 resource: water

The Globe and Mail reporter highlights the lack of conversation about water in recent political debates. ...Click here to continue reading.

  

Patricia Matthews: City of Chestermere 2015 Flood Response Summary

The Chestermere Mayor shares a timeline of events and lessons learned in the City's flood response for the July 2015 storm. ...Click here to continue reading.

 

Long Reads

Britain's water crisis - are we killing our rivers?

...Click here to continue reading.

 

Other Stories 

South Carolina experiences deadly floods

...Click here to continue reading.

 

Extreme weather events are in the cards

...Click here to continue reading.

 

900 years of tree-ring records tell a story: Declining river flows

...Click here to continue reading. 

 

China's sponge cities: soaking up water to reduce flood risks

...Click here to continue reading.

 

California drought drives cities to filter drinkable water from sewage

...Click here to continue reading.

 

Climate brokers gather best data for policy making

...Click here to continue reading.

 

City's on the move with latest piece of public art

..Click here to continue reading.

 

Local Waves

The Oldman Watershed is seeking votes to win $100,000 in funding for an outreach and education film project. Click here to vote!

 

A reminder the Red Deer River Watershed Alliance are seeking public input on their draft Integrated Watershed Management Plan,
Phase One, Water Quality. Click here for more background and a survey link. 

 

Reports and Research

The Report of the Auditor General - October 2015 is now available.

The last five years have seen unprecedented interest in the state of Alberta water law, culminating in a public, province-wide Water Conversation conducted by Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development in 2013.

Some of the conversations and many recent commentaries focused on two themes in particular. Both are vital, because they challenge fundamental principles of the Alberta Water Act

Wabamun Lake 
"Wabamun Lake" by Sean_Marshall is licenced under CC BY 2.0. No changes were made to this photo.      

 

Long Read

First Nations in northern B.C. worry Site C dam will obliterate their heritage.

...Click here to continue reading.   

 

Other Stories: Canada

Wabamun Lake oil spill: A decade later, disaster still fresh in residents' minds 

...Click here to continue reading.   

 

Heart Waters: new book highlights the vitality and history of the Bow’s sources

....Click here to continue reading. 

 

Aboriginal art project to reflect Edmonton river valley park steeped in sacred knowledge

...Click here to continue reading. 

 

Taste Alberta: old ways and new technologies make for sustainable farming

...Click here to continue reading.

 

Syncrude blue heron deaths: A look at 'the royalty of our wetlands'

Click here to continue reading.  

 

Other Stories: International 

Do you know snow? Take our quiz on snowmelt and climate change - quiz

...Click here to continue reading.

 

Pesticides blamed for bee declines widespread in US waterways

...Click here to continue reading. 

 

Other Stories: Technology

The key to water security could be lurking in a New Mexico sewage farm 

...Click here to continue reading   

 

Revolutionary tidal fence is set to trap the sea’s power 

...Click here to continue reading.  

  

Web Content   

As part of a concerted effort to continue to proactively raise awareness of the Working Well Program and provide water well management information to private well owners, Working Well has developed another series of five informative articles. Click below to download the articles: 

It’s that time of year again! It’s time for our second annual summer news recap.  This summer, our readers were interested in an assortment of stories ranging from extreme weather to invasive goldfish.