Climate and Severe Weather

Alberta is no stranger to severe weather. Albertans are well acquianted with flood, drought, fire, hail, and snow. This section explores causes, impacts, and mitigation methods for severe weather events.

Climate and water words worth knowing

Our changing climate and its effect on our shared water resources is an increasingly popular topic of discussion in government, academia, businesses and households. Conversations about climate can be heavily science based, and may frequently be accompanied by an array of terms that are critical to understanding climate issues and their solutions. 

Read a handy glossary of key climate and water terms.

Drought in Hindsight

What is Drought?

In the simplest terms, drought is the absence of water over an extended period of time. There are different ways drought can occur, and for this reason, there are four different definitions of drought. Drought is something that happens slowly, and as “persistent and abnormal moisture deficiency” continues, ecosystems, people and the economy can be adversely impacted.

Learn more about drought.

Drought Mitigation

Drought mitigation aims to: 

  • anticipate these and other known impacts, 
  • create response plans before droughts hit, and 
  • increase overall preparedness to address new or unanticipated impacts as they arise.

Learn more about drought mitigation.

Drought in Hindsight

The value of knowledge sharing cannot be underestimated, and we can learn a great deal from the Australian experience to inform Alberta’s approach to water management now and in the future. This series of profiles shares knowledge and experiences from people who lived and worked in the Millennium Drought in Australia.

Read different perspectives on drought.

1 Percent FloodWhat Is Flooding?

 An extremely simple definition of flooding is “too much water in a new place” but a more technical description is when water has overflown into an area that is normally dry. In Alberta there exists a potential for flooding along all rivers and streams and there is also potential for flooding from rising groundwater levels or an abundance of stormwater.

Learn more about flooding.

Flood Mitigation

Flood mitigation has long been an integral part of Alberta’s river management practices. Infrastructure and policy have interrelated to provide the province with measures to respond to and rebuild from flooding events. The June 2013 flooding in southern Alberta, however, set a new precedent in our province and initiated discussions of new mitigation methods capable of responding to intensified flooding and weather events.

Learn more about flood mitigation.

Understanding Flood Insurance Options

In the fictional Town of Creekshore, the Flash River is a major waterway that flows through the Town and provides citizens with drinking water and utilities. Creekshore is located near the headwaters of the Flash River so the Town can be subject to both flood and drought conditions. In times of significant rainfall, such as spring, the Flash River often rises causing localized flooding. Around the world, the problem Mr. Watersedge experienced is not unique, including in Alberta. But how does his experience getting coverage for his flooded property change depending on where he lives?

Learn more about flood insurance.

Flood 2013

The June 2013 flood in Southern Alberta will be remembered by all Albertans as the most damaging flood in our province’s history. The combination of melted snowpack and days of torrential rain resulted in extremely high and bloated rivers in the Southern region of Alberta. Approximately one-hundred thousand people were evacuated, four people killed, and numerous homes and businesses negatively impacted by the flood waters. Emerging from this natural disaster, however, was a greater sense of community and ambition to better prepare for and mitigate the effects of future floods and severe weather events.

Learn more about the 2013 flood.

Green versus Grey Infrastructure

Both green infrastructure and grey infrastructure can play an important role in water management in Alberta. However it is important to understand the differences and challenges these alternatives bring from economic, environmental, and social perspectives. 

Learn more about green versus grey infrastructure.

Lethbridge Wastewater Treatment Plant


Extreme weather: insurance and government's financial response

When recovering from extreme weather events, you may not always know where to turn. Sometimes there can seem to be an overwhelming number of resources to consult, while in other cases there can appear to be very few. 

Learn more about recovering from extreme weather.