Land secured for Calgary’s Springbank flood protection project


A project to protect the City of Calgary from future flooding events moved closer to completion with Alberta’s acquisition of 188 hectares of land necessary for the project.

The Springbank Off-stream Reservoir, or Springbank Project, is a dry reservoir that will store water temporarily during a flood.

On January 28, 2019 the Government of Alberta announced it reached an agreement with the Robinson family in Springbank, Alberta, to acquire the 188 hectares (465 acres) of land. This acquisition means the project now has roughly 20% of the 1,566 hectares of land it requires.

When completed, the project will work with the Glenmore Reservoir in Calgary to contain 70.2 million m3 of floodwater, roughly the same volume of water that resulted in the 2013 flood. It is scheduled to be completed by 2023.

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During a flood event, the confluence of the Eblow and Bow Rivers create a backflow effect which threatens downtown Calgary. The provincial government said that the cost of a similar flood to 2013 would be $700 million in damages, with billions more at risk from backflow flooding.

The province said it continues to consult with other Springbank landowners with the goal of successfully completing voluntary land agreements with all landowners. The project is also currently undergoing regulatory review.

About the Springbank Project

The Springbank project was announced in 2015 following a review of flood mitigation options by the Government of Alberta. Compared to alternatives, the Springbank project is said to be cheaper, can be completed earlier, has less of an environmental impact and will capture more runoff. The province said it is also closer to response teams and access roads and is less sensitive to sediment and debris.

During a flood, a 4.5 km long diversion channel, with a bottom width of 24 metres will carry water from the Elbow River to the off-stream reservoir. An earthen dam at the southeast end of the reservoir, 27 metres high at its tallest, will contain the floodwaters. When peak waters have passed, an outlet structure safely releases the water back to the Elbow River in a controlled manner.

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