The Calgary Flood

The 2013 flood was devastating and expensive. To cope with future floods governments need to:

1. Determine where and how often floods occur - a responsibility of the provincial government. 

2. Inform floodplain residents of the risks.

3. Control new development in designated floodplains. Currently, the provincial and federal government have agreed to:

  • not build, approve, or finance flood-prone development in designated floodplains; and
  • not provide disaster assistance in the “floodway” (where flow is the highest and fastest) or, except in “extraordinary circumstances,” for new development in the “flood fringe” unless it is flood-proofed.

4. Manage old floodplain development: The most common approach is to compensate landowners when flood damage occurs. Sometimes, governments build structures such as dams and dikes to protect land from floods, and in even rare cases, they buy-out flood-damaged properties. Currently, landowners are not required to carry flood insurance. 

5. Decide who will pay for the costs – from floodplain mapping to flood damage compensation. Currently, government costs are paid from general tax dollars. No requirements exist to recover government costs from those who own floodplain land and buildings.