In October, 2013 the Government of Alberta released a kind of work in progress assessment of the June, 2013 flood. It looks at what happened, why and how to plan for a future of extreme weather events in the province – flood mitigation. There is particular attention to the South Saskachewan River Basin including the Elbow, Bow, Sheep and Oldman rivers. One of the highlights is consideration of building dams, berms and other flood control infrastructure in Bragg Creek and upstream to manage highwater events before the can impact people in their communities.


elbow_flow revised

This chart was published in October of 2013. It shows a revised analysis of the stream flow compared to the one published at the time of the flood. I’m no expert, but it clearly shows that this flood was the worst, larger than the 1932 flood in which a man died. I don’t know if this comparison can be made, but it appears to show that this one was about 10 times greater than in 2005. The impact of this flood was far greater than even the stream flow would suggest because the water flowed through the hamlet carrying with it mud and gravel from upstream and depositing it in homes and businesses in the hamlet. Several buildings were condemned and destroyed, one was washed downstream, crashing into the Balsam Avenue bridge. Under the flood recovery program, the Alberta government offered to purchase 37 homes in the hamlet in an effort to encourage people to move off of the flood plain. Rumour has it that most owners will refuse the offer.

A particularly difficult case is the Teghtmeyer’s, owners of the Trading Post store at the southwestern end of the hamlet where the Elbow enters the hamlet and flows around a sharp bend in the river. When the water surged over the armored river bank, it ran straight into their store and home. As of October 2013 they are locked in a dispute with the county of Rockyview over a building permit that would allow them to rebuild.

Flood Mitigation

The Alberta government embarked on a process to study what happened and how to avoid or reduce the impact of floods in the future. On Oct. 4, 2013 the government released their preliminary assessment from the people looking at this. They recommended berms and dry ponds be installed to control the river. They prepared several presentations to support their findings.

Alberta Flood Mitigation Symposium by Andre Corbould

This is a high level government assessment used to develop policy with attention to building dams, berms and other flood control infrastructure.

Community Mitigation Elements, Forecasting & Flood Mapping by David Ardell

This is a look at what happened, why and risk assessment with an explanation of the 1 in 100-year flood classification

Personal Emergency Preparedness

Develop a family plan and emergency evacuation or survival kit

The 2013 Great Alberta Flood: Actions to Mitigate, Manage and Control Future Floods

An overview of the need to plan and prepare for extreme weather events in the South Saskatchewan River Basin.

Although Bragg Creek and the Elbow River are included in these documents, we don’t seem to be “top-of-mind”. Glad to see that we aren’t being overlooked, but we need to be vigilant.