Flood mitigation efforts are the responsibility of two different jurisdictions; the City of Calgary for local mitigation like community berms and Government of Alberta Environment and Parks for study, design and construction of an upstream reservoir on the Bow River. As a result, BRFM Society and its members must be ready to respond to changes in the City’s and Province’s timelines. The BRFM Board will do its best to keep its members informed of changes to project timelines and how you can take action.
City of Calgary – Bowness Berm Project Timeline
Write to Councillor Sutherland
Below is a sample letter to send to Councillor Ward Sutherland after you have reviewed The City’s community booklet. Personalize the letter with your specific concerns and email it to:
or mail to: P.O. Box 2100, Station M Calgary, AB, T2P 2M5
Dear Councillor Sutherland,
I have reviewed the recent City community booklet and landowner package specific to my property. I have also seen a map of The City’s 2020 Groundwater Study which shows I will be flooded by groundwater with the barrier in place. My main floor was not flooded in 2013 and The City has indicated this barrier height is lower than the 2013 flood. According to The City’s website, basements are not impermeable and will flood once the groundwater rises.
It seems my neighbours are also in the same basement flooding only situation. The only reasonable conclusion I can make is I will be flooded with the barrier and without the barrier, with the same result, my basement will be flooded.
The only difference I see is that TransAlta can now run the river higher, with the result being the potential of us being flooded more often. This is also demonstrated by The City’s own application to the province which states: “If the proposed barrier were in place it would enable TransAlta to release up to 1200 m3/sec without overland residential flood damage”.
I find it unethical that The City would not have informed the Province nor the community of extensive groundwater flooding as was detailed in the previous City report and now this latest report.
This is a make-work project; a waste of taxpayer money and The City is being a contributing partner in having our community flooded.
Sign up to participate in The City’s virtual Open House and Q&A Sessions Multiple topics presented between January 13 – 20
Review the community information booklet distributed by The City and participate in The City’s online engagement. We need to have everyone’s voices heard that Bowness expects effective and equitable protection and this barrier project is NOT providing this.
Sign up for The City’s virtual presentations followed by a question and answer session. There are 6 presentations on multiple topics ranging from Project Overview to the Groundwater Study to the Overland Flood Barrier Design Process.
Sessions are scheduled between January 13 – 20.
Visit engage.calgary.ca/bowness-flood-barrier-project to register. If you don’t have online access, call The City at 403-509-0253 to discuss other ways to share your feedback and ask questions.
- We live on the river and have a lot of privacy and security now. If an earthen berm is put in our back yard we will lose both of these things and it will be really easy for people to get to and from, and to break into our house from the back without anyone seeing them. The berm will be like a road in the back and neighbours have actually recorded thieves in the neighbourhood riding bikes after they break into someone’s house because it’s quicker to get away. This will just make it easier for them behind our houses. What is The City going to do about this or will they be liable for this additional risk to our homes?
- How long would construction go on in our backyard? How much of our yard would The City need during construction and how much would the barrier take up after construction? How would all the heavy construction equipment get to and from the construction site?
- I am on the river and my basement flooded in 2005 (and/or 2013), Will this happen again and how long will it take to happen? What is the chance of this happening in any year for my property?
- I am on the river side of Bow Crescent and I know that my neighbours across the street had flooded basement in 2005 (and/or 2013). Will this happen again and how long will this take to happen if there’s a flood? What is the chance of this happening every year for my neighbours across the street?
- We live on the river and have a lot of trees where the barrier is supposed to be. These trees have stopped the bank from being eroded by the river, even in 2013. If the trees are removed, or die because of the construction beside them, is The City liable for replacing them? Also, if the trees die and the bank starts eroding every year is The City liable for this too and will they do something to stop it?
- I am on the river and my main floor was flooded in 2005 and/or 2013. Will this happen again and how long will this take to happen if there’s a flood? What is the chance of this happening in any year for my property?
- The City cut off the power when the flood happened in 2013 because our basement and lots of our neighbours’ basements were full of water, so we had no power for our sump pump, lights or refrigerator and had to leave our house. We also couldn’t use the taps or toilets because of the water in the basement. Does The City think that residents with flooded basements will be evacuated in the next flood?
- What is the chance in any year that the flood will be so big that it goes over top of the barrier and floods our neighbourhood anyway?
- If we have a flood that’s too big for the barrier and the river overtops the barrier, how long will the water be stuck behind it in our yards and on our street?
- I remember seeing pictures of Sunnyside on the news in 2013 where a lot of brown water was coming out of the sewer grates on the street. It looked like river water. Can that happen in our neighbourhood during a flood?
- We keep hearing that climate change will mean bigger and bigger floods and maybe longer and longer droughts. With all the hurricanes and fires in the states lately that sounds about right. I have heard The City say that the barrier is needed to protect us from more numerous smaller floods that will happen. I have never heard this anywhere else, why does The City think that?
- We have a sump in our basement and can see the water going up and down every spring and summer when the river goes up and down. Whenever it gets too high the pump has to come on to lower it and keep the water away from the basement floor. This doesn’t happen very often. Will this not be necessary any more when the barrier is built?
- Some of our neighbours had basements filling with water so fast in 2005 (and/or 2013) that their sump pump was useless and they got flooded anyway. Can this happen again with the barrier?
- I have heard about the deal that the province has with TransAlta and the Ghost dam. Are they keeping that even if they build the barrier? Up to what size of flood does that protect Bowness if there’s no barrier or if there is one? What does it cost every year for us to get that deal from TransAlta?
- I had my basement flooded in 2013. How many properties will still be flooded through the ground with the barrier in place versus flooded overland or through the ground without the barrier? (If that answer is, we do not know, then the follow-up question is, then how could you have possibly calculated how much damage the barrier is saving? If the answer is “we have not counted” then the follow up question is, when will you?)
- Is anyone getting flooded basements with the barrier in place through the ground and if so, why isn’t The City publishing the map, no different than The City publishing the overland flood map?
Province of Alberta Timelines – Bow River Reservoir Options
The Province is assessing options to mitigate the impacts of both flood and drought on the Bow River.
In Spring 2020, the Alberta government completed a conceptual assessment of options and in Fall 2020 the feasibility study phase was initiated.
Visit their website to learn more:
Write your MLA and the Minister of Alberta Environment & Parks to reinforce the importance of the Bow River Reservoir Options initiative.
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Write your MLA
Now’s the time to write a letter to let your MLA and the Minister of Alberta Environment and Parks know how important it is to continue funding so that the Bow Basin Water Management Project continues to the feasibility phase without interruption.
Honourable Demetrios Nicolaides, MLA for Calgary-Bow and Minister of Advanced Education
6307 Bowness Rd NW
Canada T3B 0E4
403 Legislature Building
10800 – 97 Avenue NW
Canada T5K 2B6
Honourable Jason Nixon, Minister of Environment and Parks
Office of the Minister
Environment and Parks
323 Legislature Building
10800 – 97 Avenue