Learn: Southern Alberta Flood 2013

An Introduction

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 swollen 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[1].  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.  

In response to the damage caused by the flood, the Government of Alberta and Federal Government of Canada promised aid and financial support to the affected regions. Despite these commitments, the price tag of this natural disaster continues to increase with insured property damage exceeding $1.7 billion[1] prompting questions of Alberta’s preparedness for severe weather events such as flooding and drought. Emphasis from water experts in Alberta has been on improved planning and modelling to anticipate severe weather events, a review of infrastructure and municipal planning in flood zones, an evaluation of flood insurance policies, and improved water management. 

The following is an account of the events and impacts of the June 2013 flood. Moving forward, collaboration between the different levels of government and water experts within Alberta will inform best practices for mitigating the damage and destruction of future severe weather events such as flooding.    

[1] “Alberta floods costliest natural disaster in Canadian history.” The Canadian Press. Accessed on October 23, 2013. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/alberta-floods-costliest-natural-disaster-in-canadian-history-1.1864599