Water Collaborative and Why We Must Do What We Can to Prevent This Kind of Catastrophic Damage

November 24, 2013 by CRC Action Group in News


We understand that the Flood Advisory Panel has completed its work and that the Government of Alberta has hired the firms AMEC and AECOM to move the mitigation project to the design and construction phase. The GOA has invited CRCAG to become a member of the Water Collaborative.  The Water Collaborative is a collection of stakeholder organizations coming together to discuss and review mitigation plans of action. Other members of the Collaborative include WaterSmart, the Bow River Basin Council, Trouts Unlimited, Ducks Unlimited, various Irrigation Districts, TransAlta, The City of Calgary’s Flood Panel, Mr. Allan Markin, the Town of High River,  Amec and AECOM. We are pleased to be at the table representing homeowners interests. The first meeting of the Water Collaborative was held on Thursday November 14.  We expect that at the next meeting in early December we will learn of some proposed timelines for mitigation projects.


We will continue to give voice to our primary message:


Why Upstream Flood Mitigation Needs to Happen!



It will flood again.

Every year we face a 1% chance of flooding.We must accept that this is a significant risk with significant consequences.

Studies have shown that our climate in Calgary goes through significant cycles of wet and drought. We have to plan for flooding and for drought. Around the turn of the last century there was a clustering of large flood everts. We must plan for what is both known and unknown.


Loss of Life.

Four lives were lost during the 2013 flood and many people were injured. This is four lives too many.  The recent flooding in Colorado was a stark reminder of the significant danger flooding poses.


The Investment In Prevention

Spending on Prevention will save us Billions in the long run. An investment in infrastructure today will pay significant dividends in the future. Claims have been made that the now legendary “Duff’s Ditch” has saved an estimated cumulative $32 Billion in damages in Manitoba. The June 2013 flood alone has been estimated to have caused approximately $6-8 Billion in damages. This repeatable escalating cost can be avoided – $8 billion again, again and again is unacceptable and unnecessary.


Mitigation estimates are a drop in the bucket. Early Mitigation Estimates of $850MM represent less than 1/ 40th of the annual Provincial Budget.


Repeatable and devastating financial damage impacts everyone.

Public infrastructure is destroyed.  Private and Public property is damaged and/or destroyed.  Insurance premiums go up. There is a significant loss of business and business interruption.

Small businesspeople are put out of business forever.

An unquantifiable amount of public and private time, resources and energy have been dedicated to cleaning up and dealing with the aftermath of the flood. This can all be avoided.


The Alberta Way

Albertans are proud of a strong tradition of being proactive. We fend and provide for ourselves.

Given the choice most Albertans prefer NOT to repeatedly call on federal financial disaster assistance.

Historically Albertans have been leaders in innovation and initiative. Alberta can become a world leader in prudent, practical, sustainable, environmentally responsible water management.




The environmental cost of flushing  Calgary and High River’s vast quantities of sewage, chemicals and debris into our watershed is unacceptable.


It is devastating to think of putting more debris into our public landfills, in a two week period, than we normally would in a two year period.

A significant amount of the debris that went into our landfills during the flood cleanup would have otherwise been recycled. The time sensitivity and the lack of ability to identify objects resulted in virtually everything being discarded.


If designed and engineered properly infrastructure can be relatively benign. Flood Mitigation Infrastructure does have an environmental impact but if designed properly it can be built in a safe and responsible manner.


Social & Psychological

We need to avoid the significant repeatable emotional stress and bereavement that flooding causes.  So many Calgarians live in fear of what next year brings. So many children get frightened when it rains. Marriages are strained and some are facing financial woes that are causing extreme stress and grief.  This stress resonates on the individual level, the family level and at the community level. And it can be avoided.