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Six years later, Calgary still unprepared to prevent major flooding

Last Updated Jun 20, 2019 at 11:54 am MDT

A woman walks stands in the backyard of her home in the flooded community of Bowness as up to 100,000 people were evacuated from their homes, in Calgary, on June 21, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – It has been six years since floods devastated Calgary and parts of southern Alberta.

At the time, the floods were the most expensive natural disaster in Canada with damages around $5 billion.

Since then, work has been done to prevent some of the damage done in 2013.

WATCH: The Calgary flood, five years later (June, 2018)

Several mitigation projects have been erected in Calgary along the Bow River, including barriers near Eau Claire and the Centre St. Bridge.

And work is underway at Glenmore Dam.

“We’re putting steel gates on top of the crest of the dam that will increase the amount of floodwater that we can hold back in the reservoir,” said Sandy Davis with the City of Calgary’s Flood Risk Awareness Program.

The City has posted a list of projects on its website.

However, most of the projects already built or under construction would not stop another major flood.

Major projects aimed at holding back floodwaters remain in limbo.

“The City is also supporting design of the Springbank reservoir, upstream of Calgary on the Elbow River and studies to identify a location for a new reservoir upstream on the Bow River.”

The Springbank project remains tied up in regulatory red tape. It also faces opposition from residents who argue the project would do nothing to prevent flooding upstream.

READ MORE: Province submits thousands of pages of answers to questions on Springbank dam

Alberta Transportation recently submitted an 8,000-page response to questions from various provincial and federal environmental agencies (a document six-and-a-half times longer than the novel War and Peace.)

WATCH: Flood season begins in Calgary

In the meantime, residents living downstream are hoping there won’t be another major disaster.

Davis said conditions necessary for flooding aren’t there this year.

“We look for big rain systems that bring a lot of moisture with them. That rain would generally fall on the mountains and foothills. When we see thunderstorms in the afternoon and evenings, that’s not generally enough rain to bring river floods into Calgary.”