Managing Spring Flood Season

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Preparation is the key to managing spring flood season

March 27, 2014 Media inquiries

As spring arrives, the Government of Alberta is urging all Albertans to be informed about what they can do to prepare their homes and families against future flooding.

Flooding is a natural occurrence and the potential for spring flooding depends on rainfall, snow pack, soil moisture and temperature. The province continually monitors these factors and keeps municipalities informed of the situation. However, there are proactive steps individuals can take to mitigate against the effects of potential floods.

“We all need to do what we can to make sure our homes, families and communities are prepared in case of any future flooding. As a government we will do our part to ensure effective mitigation is implemented, but it’s also important for Albertans to protect themselves and their properties from flooding.”

Ken Hughes, Minister of Municipal Affairs

“This spring, many Albertans will have a heightened awareness of flood potential. Our government and municipalities are working hard to ensure that our infrastructure and warning systems are ready to keep our families and communities safe as possible.”

Robin Campbell, Minister of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development

To reduce the likelihood of flood damage

  • Redirect storm water away from your house. Make sure the ground slopes away from your house on all sides.
  • Put weather protection sealant around basement windows and the base of ground-level doors.
  • Install the drainage for downspouts a sufficient distance from your residence to ensure that water moves away from the building.
  • Consider installing a sump pump and zero reverse flow valves in basement floor drains.
  • Do not store your important documents in the basement. Keep them at a higher level to protect them from flood damage.

Protecting your family and property during a flood

  • Know the warning systems your municipal government uses. Make sure you know what the signals mean, how they will be used, and what you should do when you hear it.
  • At the first warning of a flood, turn off electrical power and leave it off. Do NOT attempt to shut off electricity if any water is present.
  • Turn off basement furnaces and the outside gas valve.
  • Take special precautions to safeguard electrical, natural gas or propane heating equipment.
  • Move furniture, electrical appliances and other belongings to floors above ground level.
  • Remove toxic substances such as pesticides from the flood area to prevent pollution.
  • In some cases, homes may be protected with sandbags or polyethylene barriers. Follow instructions from local emergency officials.

The flooding that began on June 20, 2013, affected more than 100,000 Albertans in over 30 communities. Since then, the Alberta government has been working to implement flood mitigation and make the province a safer place.

Alberta’s approach to mitigation includes short- and long-term projects to protect against future floods and reduce negative downstream impacts. Engineering studies are currently being done on the Bow, Elbow, Highwood, South Saskatchewan, Sheep, Oldman, Red Deer and Athabasca rivers to assess mitigation options for these flood-prone river basins. As well, the proposed Highwood River Diversion and the Elbow River Dry Dam are in the community consultation and environmental review stage.

Alberta has allocated $216 million for the Flood Recovery Erosion Control Program, which provides funding to address immediate repairs and includes long-term community mitigation projects. The Government of Alberta continues to work with flood-affected municipalities to determine priorities for erosion control work and funding.

Under the Building Alberta Plan, our government is investing in families and communities, living within our means, and opening new markets for Alberta's resources to ensure we're able to fund the services Albertans told us matter most to them. We will continue to deliver the responsible change Albertans voted for.

Related information

Media inquiries

Emily Woods
Press Secretary, Municipal Affairs

Kevin Zahara
Press Secretary, Environment and Sustainable Resource Development