Bow River Update

March 17, 2016 by CRC Action Group in News

For our Bow River Members, we continue to hear your concerns about wanting to know what has been going on with respect to the Bow. Below is a summary of recent conversations that members of your CRCAG team have with the provincial government. Please watch for more information regarding the Bow in the coming weeks.
The Bow River Working Group, a technical collaboration of water managers and users, was informally established in 2010. In late 2013 and early 2014 they worked together to identify and assess flood mitigation options in the Bow Basin. Their March 2014 Bow Basin Flood Mitigation and Watershed Management Project report put forward the most promising mitigation options including a number of operational changes for the TransAlta facilities in the upper Bow system. A separate report conducted by Amec Foster Wheeler in 2015 for Alberta Environment and Parks identified 11 potential flood storage schemes for the Bow River. This 2016 project is a continuation of both of these prior studies.
The Bow River Working Group’s mandate is to provide the Government of Alberta with strategic advice on opportunities to reduce future flood damage, improve the reliability of water supply, and protect the long-term health of the Bow River Basin. The advice in 2016 will focus on flood mitigation opportunities in the upper Bow Basin with consideration given to the related impacts on drought mitigation and watershed health. This advice is to be provided to the Minister of Alberta Environment and Parks.



The Advisory committee at the political level, will begin meeting in early March.
The Advisory Committee will support a technical committee of experts called the Bow River Working Group by:

  •    Providing strategic direction for the Working Group;
  •    Championing the Working Group’s work and its outcomes;
  •    Identifying feasible implementation pathways and barriers for the identified mitigation opportunities;
  •    Acting as the liaison between various orders of government;
  •    Providing issue resolution and addressing barriers that may arise within the Working Group; and
  •    Endorsing and providing the final report to the Government of Alberta for consideration.


Technical Working Group will also commence their efforts in March, working on the broader outline of the terms of reference, mandate of group, and information recapping that has been done to date.
The technical group will include affected municipalities, WPAC’s, irrigation districts, Industry (Trans Alta & Spray Lakes Sawmills), First Nations, Federal government, and relevant GoA employees of affected ministries, ENGO’s (Ducks Unlimited Canada and Trout Unlimited Canada) will also be included in the Technical working group.

The Community Group (which CRCAG will be a part of) will be informed by RAM through the Advisory Committee of the work being done by the Working Group and their perspectives will be invited.

  •    Engagement will occur in two stages. Firstly, through targeted meetings and working sessions with water experts, municipalities, Government of Alberta staff, First Nations, Improvement Districts, Industry, Environmental non-government organizations (ENGO) and WPAC’s. Secondly, through community meetings with members of the general public.



  • The Bow River working group is working toward a final report with recommendations for Bow River flood mitigation by March 2017.
  • The final report (a collection of schemes to reach the desired flow rate outcomes through the City of Calgary) will be submitted to The Minister of Environment of Parks for approval. Following approval, additional feasibility studies will need to occur on said schemes prior to projects taking place.