PUBLISHED: 29 November 2013

Timeline of Events: Little Bow Region

The Little Bow Region, south of the City of Calgary is an area of southern Alberta home to the Siksika First Nations, towns of Vulcan and Coalhurst and a large population of Alberta’s agricultural community. This region was heavily impacted by the June flooding that inundated parts of southern Alberta. While many properties were left unaffected due to their placement on higher escarpments, property damage and impacts on local water supply were extensive. Ground water contamination occurred as flood waters entered the valley of the Little Bow Region bringing with it debris and traces of E. coli, a bacteria indicating fecal contamination. Many residents in the region rely on groundwater wells for their water supply. Water wells approximately 20-30 feet deep provide residents with a secure water source from the alluvial aquifer. As a result of the June flooding, however, this water source was contaminated.

At the time of the flood, evacuated residents were given twelve minutes to gather their belongings. As a result, many people lost property and livestock with one farmer reportedly losing forty heads of cattle[1]. In addition to these losses, five bridges were washed away from High River to the Twin Valley Reservoir; resulting in farmers having difficulties harvesting due to the inaccessibility of land. 

Moving forward, residents of the Little Bow Region continue to clean-up after the flood and assess damage to their properties. Landowners express the need for improved flood mapping and flood zoning for the region to address future floods. Additionally, residents of Little Bow have concerns over rural emergency warning systems that seem to be less developed than systems in urban areas. In a region that has largely focused on drought conditions, the June 2013 floods presented a new set of challenges to this rural community. Nonetheless, the agricultural sector continues to move forward and participate in flood mitigation discussions and strategies for the future[2].

[1] Pickering, Shirley. “Highwood/ Little Bow Region June 2013: A Rural Perspective.” BRBC Board Member.

[2] Glen, Barb. “Farmers left in the dark on flood aid, eligibility.” The Western Producer. Published September 26th, 2013. Accessed November 22, 2013.