Tuesday, June 19 marked the five year anniversary of the 2013 Sothern Alberta flood, which caused devastation to the City of Calgary from June 19 to July 12, 2013.
Five people died as a direct result of the flood, while another approximately 100,000 Albertans were displaced. A total of 32 states of local emergency were called during the flooding, and 28 emergency operation centres were activated in what was described by the Government of Alberta as the worst flood in the province’s history.
Five years later and Naheed Nenshi, mayor of Calgary now and in 2013, spoke to the years that followed the flood, and how the city has prepared for a similar disaster.
“Calgarians demonstrated extraordinary resilience during and after the devastating flood of 2013,” said Mayor Nenshi in a release.
“In the five years since, building a flood-resilient community has been a top priority for City Council and the City of Calgary. We’ve come a long way, but there is more work left to do —especially upstream.”
According to the release, the city has invested upwards of $150 million in flood risk mitigation, namely in stormwater systems throughout the city, upstream reservoirs, and improved monitoring systems.
Even so, the risk of flooding in Calgary is still a real possibility.
“Studies have shown that our strategy to reduce the impact of river flood risk, once fully implemented, will protect Calgary against another flood the size of 2013,” said Frank Frigo, the leader of Watershed Analysis, in the release.
“We cannot prevent river flooding but we are working with our provincial and federal partners to reduce its impact.”
According to Frigo, the risk of flood damage has been reduced by over 30% since 2013.
“Together with the province, we have committed more than $150-million towards projects that have reduced our risk of river flood damage by one-third since 2013,” Frigo said in the release.
“Today, we are better positioned to understand and manage our flood risks.”
The release also stated that Calgary is most at risk of flooding between May 15 and July 15, and that all Calgarians should educate themselves on how to protect their properties, possessions, and loved ones from the damage that river flooding can cause.
To do so, Calgarians are urged to learn more about river flooding at the City of Calgary’s website, search online to see if their home is at risk, sign up for a newsletter, download the flood readiness guide, and prepare a 72-hour emergency kit.