From the Government of Alberta: 

The federal government is providing $8.7 million through the National Disaster Mitigation Program for 18 projects. They include new or replacement flood mapping for Drumheller, Medicine Hat, Siksika Nation, Red Deer, and more than 100 kilometres of the North Saskatchewan River, including Edmonton.

The province is contributing more than $5 million to the projects as part of the cost-sharing agreement.“Our government is committed to investing in flood resilience to better protect Albertans where they live and work. The provincial and federal funding for flood mapping and community risk assessments will help us build safer communities over the long term and ensure Alberta is better prepared for severe weather events in the future.”

Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks.

“The Government of Canada, in partnership with provinces and territories, is committed to reducing the impacts of flooding on Canadians by investing in projects that allow communities to identify, plan for, and reduce flood risks.  Investing in programming like the National Disaster Mitigation Program is an important part of the Government of Canada's strategy to address the soaring costs of natural disasters. The projects announced today will help the province of Alberta better prepare for and respond to floods.”

Randy Boissonnault, Member of Parliament for Edmonton Centre, on behalf of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Provincial and federal funding will also be used to assess the potential for debris floods near Canmore, stormwater vulnerabilities in Calgary and flood risks in smaller communities such as Manning, Stettler, Lacombe and the Municipal District of Crowsnest Pass.

Director of Resilience Strategy with Alberta Environment and Parks Andrew Wilson, says these studies determine where additional flood protection is needed.

“The intention behind that is to then start comparing benefit-cost studies on flood mitigation projects. So if you have say a $10 structure at risk is it worth spending a million dollars to protect it? Probably not. But how do you get there? Well, you gotta have some numbers first, so this a piece of that, getting the numbers.”

Wilson says this program was implemented following the 2013 floods that devastated downtown Calgary.

He says these maps are always changing as humans build and the environment changes.

“Once you have your basic information in place, you have community model, you can then update as you get new mapping information or new building data. Obviously, development happens, communities change their areas, building types change, so it’s the kind of thing you should refresh periodically.”

Projects to improve forecasting and warning systems and improve access and interaction with provincial flood-inundation maps also received funding.

Alberta has launched 13 river hazard studies since 2015, including those that are wholly funded by the province. In total, these studies will produce new and replacement flood mapping for over 1,300 kilometres of river through more than 30 communities. Many of these studies are nearing completion.

Since 2013, the Alberta government has invested more than $700 million in community-level resilience projects, erosion control, upstream storage, flood mapping, flood forecasting and emergency preparedness, and watershed health to improve flood and drought resilience across the province.

You can find more information here at the Alberta governments website. 

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