Southern Alberta still flooding

Updated 2019 04 19, to add links to related articles.

Southern Alberta still flooding, 2013 06 22Today’s Edmonton Journal has extensive coverage of the flooding in Southern Alberta, and, of course, as one would expect, the politicians of all parties as well as NGOs, especially the environmentalist kind, are weighing in with their opinions on how such things are “the new norm”, a “911 call” and more.  (Photos of the Southern Alberta flooding: Calgary)

They say that all of the flooding is “the new norm” and imply that the Government (that is, other taxpayers) must take care of the consequences, first and foremost prevention of re-occurrences.

Well, the only thing that is really new about any of this is that people have lost the common sense that once-upon-a-time kept them away from precarious construction sites, and that now a lot of construction takes place in locations that always were and always will remain at risk of being flooded.

The Edmonton Journal carries an article on “Province urged to limit development near rivers”, much like the ones one could read after the previous flood of similar magnitude that no one did anything about to prevent such damage from re-occurring.  (Page A8, lower right-hand corner, not on the Internet)

Robert Sandford, the Canadian Chair of the “United Nations Water for Life Decade” stated, “I regret to say that this is  not something that we can just simply dismiss as an extremely rare event.”

Well, the article contains much more along those lines, and much about how recommendations for flood prevention and mitigation were ignored after 2005. Prevention of floods is impossible, but prevention of flood damages is another thing.

The most practical suggestion (or is that really what it is?) was made by Municipal Affairs Minister Doug Griffith, who observed that the Redford government has been working on implementing the recommendations [of the plan that had been ignored for  many years after the 2005 flooding], but it hasn’t yet taken a hard stance on banning construction in flood plains.

Right, and why hasn’t the Province done that?  Many millions of dollars in flood damage due to this year’s flooding would have been prevented if that would have been done.

If you wish to keep your feet dry, stay out of the water.  Furthermore, if you wish to prevent your home, warehouse, factory, stadium or road from being submerged or washed away through flood water, don’t locate them on land at risk of being flooded.  Anyone who hasn’t got enough common sense to stay dry should not complain about having his property wrecked by flood water.

Much of the land and real estate in Calgary and the other localities damaged by the current flooding is located in the riparian zones of rivers that run through the alluvial plain of the Rocky Mountains.  Those rivers do not only flood often, but they can even be expected change course.  That is the nature of the riparian zones of rivers in alluvial plains.

You may ask why government officials don’t prohibit construction in such precarious locations, but ask yourself how all those boulders and the gravel that you wish to build on and that is in some places covered by water-deposited silt got to where they are.

Buyer beware, and forget about why the government doesn’t warn anyone off or prevent him from losing his shirt by getting washed out eventually.  Stay out of risky places and build on high, dry ground.  If you feel compelled to build close to the water but hope to minimize damages to your property, then at least build on pilings that will elevate what you wish to build above the highest flood-water levels to be expected.  Just make sure that the pilings are deep and strong enough, so that the flood waters that will most certainly come cannot wash them away.


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1 Response to Southern Alberta still flooding

  1. Some of the people to whom I had mentioned my observations on the flooding in Southern Alberta thought that I was not entirely fair but rather cold-hearted with respect to the poor people who lost much if not everything on account of the flooding.

    Yes it does sound that way, but the fact is that they got conned and let themselves be conned. The officials knew better and should not have permitted anyone to put up any construction of any value in the flood-prone regions.

    As to the victims of the flooding, not only will they wind up footing the bill, but all of the Aberta taxpayers will help them, as well as the Canadian taxpayers will have to shell out some money to pay for those poor people having been conned and having been taken for a ride.

    What I said is true. Nothing of it is wrong, and all of the flood damages could have been prevented if it would not have been for the greed of the owners and developers of the flooded land. Here is the proof, as per a comment made by someone from Calgary at the blog of wattsupwiththat.com:

    CodeTech says:
    June 24, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    Justthinkin, I found a document at the University of Calgary discussing flooding after 2005. In it, the history of the landowners in the flooded areas is recounted. They did NOT want the city to declare their property (all of it flooded this week) as being dangerous because it would have affected their property values….(continue reading)

    Look people. The situation in Calgary, Chochrane and Highriver was caused by greed, very much like the greed that motivated the developers who wanted to con our town office and prospective buyers of 500 or so homes to be located in a flood plain north of Walker School in Bruderheim, and no different than to locate a sulphur processing plant in the middle of what used to be called Mud Lake just east of Bruderheim in the County of Lamont.

    The area north of Walker School got a bit wet this spring, as it does every spring, except for those years when the run-off water is so deep where the Sage Development was intended to be located that one can drive a boat on it; and Mud Lake flooded this spring, several feet deep, as it always does when we have a reasonable amount of run-off (and this year’s wasn’t even that extraordinary; I have seen the water during the spring-run-off flow right over the top of Highway 45).

    It’s a good thing that the Town of Bruderheim did not get suckered, but the County of Lamont did with the Mud-Lake proposal. It sure is a good thing that no sulphur processing plant got built there yet, or the county rate payers would now be paying for damages.

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