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City getting prepared for flood season

Last Updated May 15, 2019 at 5:32 am MDT

CALGARY (660 NEWS) — It is officially flood season in Calgary, and the city wants to stay on top of any risk.

Fortunately, as it stands right now, there is little danger of flooding as the snowpack is average.

But the real danger comes with rainfall, and the spring is forecasted to be wetter than normal.

“River flooding in Calgary is primarily driven by large, intense rainfall events that come over our mountains and our foothills. The snowpack is primarily where we get our water supply for the year,” said flood risk awareness program manager Sandy Davis. “Those are very difficult to predict, especially because we are so close to the mountains and the mountains tend to change our weather patterns unpredictably.”

To grapple with the unknown, the city is hard at work constructing berms and other mitigation projects along the Bow River, with the goal to have them complete in the next five years.

“This includes communities like Sunnyside and Bowness, potentially Inglewood. So we’re studying and exploring barrier designs in those communities, as well as working on barriers throughout downtown to protect the downtown from large floods on the Bow River,” said Davis.

Several projects are already complete, including a barrier in west Eau Claire and the Centre Street floodgates, and the city is also re-stating the importance of upstream mitigation like the Springbank Off-Stream Reservoir.

Moving forward, the conditions will also be even more confusing.

“Climate change is one of the big risks facing Calgary,” said Davis. “We know that because our climate is changing, our flood and our drought risk will be changing as well. So, the plans that we have in place are designed to be flexible and adaptive to climate change.”

Calgarians can also help on their own end, including by heading to the city’s website and downloading emergency alert apps to their phones.

You should have an evacuation plan ready if you live in a dangerous area, prepare your property for any floodwaters, and make sure your family is also prepared.

Monitoring efforts have also been stepped up, with officials keeping an eye on water levels 24/7 to make sure we have the latest information through the season.

“Since 2013, the city has done a lot of studies as well as public engagement to identify what projects need to be done,” added Davis. “The city’s goal is to protect all communities from another flood the size of the one we saw in 2013.”