In order to effectively deal with the threat that a flood poses to Calgary’s economy mitigation strategies and preparedness have been the focus of Calgary’s flood hazard strategy.
Policies the city of Calgary has implemented since the 2013 flood:
To reduce the risk of damages, Calgary no longer permits new development within floodways and requires new developments within the flood fringe to build their main floor, mechanical and electrical systems above the 1-100 year flood level.
To reduce the risk of flood damage, Calgary requires all main house service connections to be equipped with backwater valves. Backwater valve installations reduce the risk of sewer back-up water inflows during extreme rainfall events for houses connected to municipal sewer systems.
The City of Calgary has implemented stricter building codes to reduce the risk of infrastructure damage. This method of flood mitigation addresses the long-term issue of flooding and risk to property by building infrastructure capable of withstanding floods. While many soft and hard engineering options exist to mitigate against flooding, this policy option strengthens infrastructure to withstand flooding and prevent extensive flood damage. Measures that implemented to ensure properties can withstand flooding include: refurnishing basements with water resistant materials that can easily be cleaned, sealing basements to prevent seepage, protecting or moving electrical equipment in the basement to the upstairs, and protecting plumbing equipment from sewage back-up.
Although an unfavourable option because it is costly and residents are often reluctant to move, the province of Alberta has provided funding for owners of properties in the floodway to rebuild or relocate to new locations outside flood-risk areas. This measure is initially expensive but is cost-effective in the long run because it reduces economic costs associated with repeated response and recovery operations after a flood occurs.
Policies the city of Calgary should implement:
The City of Calgary should focus on developing programs to educate business owners about business continuity planning. In the event of a flood, businesses that have developed continuity plans will lose less revenue and their employees will lose less wages, which will reduce economic losses.
The City of Calgary should require floodplain maps to be updated regularly and be forward projected to model future floodplains. This will ensure that accurate and reliable information is provided to those who continue to live within flood plains.