The Bog

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.

There are many different uses, needs, industries and disciplines involved in water  which are influenced by separate values and meanings of its users. Essentially, you can have a biologist, lawyer and engineer working in the field of water for entirely different or similar reasons. As Alberta’s legislature welcomes both new and returning MLA’s, we’ve outlined 10 points that both politicians, and all Albertans, would benefit to know about water in Alberta.

In the nearly two years since the 2013 floods in Alberta, many mitigation options for the province’s flood-prone areas have been identified, studied, and implemented by the Government of Alberta (GoA), municipalities, non-government organizations, and others. 

In the fall of 2014 the GoA announced that it wanted to look more closely at the approach taken by the Netherlands to manage flooding in the Rhine River branches – the Room for the River program. A pilot project was undertaken in the Bow River Basin in late 2014 to consider the extent the Room for the River principles could be adapted and applied to the Bow and Elbow rivers. Building on the Bow Basin pilot, a second initiative was carried out in spring 2015 in the Red Deer River Basin to apply the measures and the learnings from the Bow Pilot to reduce vulnerability of people and infrastructure and improve the overall quality of the river. 

 8562763964 852a20c9a0 o
"Red deer river drumheller looking south" by davebloggs007 is licenced under CC BY 2.0.  

The report below was submitted to GoA on June 4th, 2015 for their review and consideration. It includes an overview of the project and the resulting advice to GoA. Many organizations and individuals contributed to this project. 

In this continuing spirit of collaboration, the report is being broadly shared and further comments are welcomed. Please read the report and feel free to share it with others. If you would like to offer public comment please do so in the comments box below, to offer private comment please do so via email . The WaterPortal will ensure your comments or suggestions are communicated to the authors and recipients of the report. Comments and feedback will be accepted until June 30th.


Click here to download Room for the River in the Red Deer River Basin: Advice to the Government of Alberta. 


Today's blog post first appeared in the Bow River Basin Council's publication ' Preserving Our Lifeline'. You can read past newsletters and editions of 'Preserving Our Lifeline' here.

What if you could participate in a North America-wide effort to improve weather forecasting, drought mapping, flood alerts, and our understanding of and capacity to respond to an ever-changing climate? Would you? Of course you would. Well, here’s the opportunity.

What in the WaterWorld is CoCoRaHS?

For regular readers of this blog you may be familiar with the concept of “Earth Day Resolutions”. But for those who are new, or have forgotten, here is a quick summary:


Today we’re moving out of the Elbow Basin and into the Highwood with a review of the flood mitigation proposals for High River. The Government of Alberta released a new report by Deltares which reviews the engineering study by AECOM and the Flood Management Master Plan by WorleyParsons.

Cover of the Deltares report on High River studies 2015


Report Recommendations

The report makes some very direct recommendations on what should and should not be done next in the Highwood basin.

First, we recommend to not implementing the dry dams or southern diversion' schemes as studied by AECOM since they cannot be justified considering the societal costs and benefits of these measures. Secondly, we recommend being reluctant with regard to deliberately drawing more discharge into the little Bow since this may be considered morphologically unsustainable and not robust in view of uncertainty about design discharges. Instead we advise to try to further enhance the discharge capacity of the Highwood River through the town of High River itself by at least removing obstacles and perhaps reshaping (and maintaining) and floodplain morphology.

Excerpt from the Summary of the Review of Flood Mitigation Proposals for High River (Alberta, Canada) 2015 report by Deltares.