Property in flood-prone areas of Alberta

2019 03 27: Added links to related articles
2021 07 17: To update links to Flood Hazard Map Application

A large number of Alberta residents who own property in flood-prone areas of Alberta are very busy trying to clean up, after the flooding in southern Alberta, flooding that affected flood-prone areas before and will affect them again.  Clean-up will take work, time and financial resources.  Many will be set back and take years to recover.  Some will not ever recover.

Fortunately, the flooding did not cause much loss of life (there were three fatalities).  There may be more losses of that nature, although not directly.  Some officials already expressed fears that areas from which the flood waters have begun to recede will not necessarily be safe to enter, that they could well pose hazards to the health of people entering them.

The people who sustained damages to their properties will perhaps experience loss of income, for various reasons, some of which reasons affect without a doubt many people who were wise enough not to locate their homes in flood-prone areas but whose places of work were inundated, closed down and even damaged on account of the flooding.

The property losses due to the recent flooding in Alberta may be as high as $5 billion or so.  A lot of hardship is involved, and already Premier Redford announced that the Province of Alberta will exercise its power to borrow money, so as to be able to spend a billion dollars to provide help to those who need it.  After all, the government emptied the Heritage Trust Fund that, once-upon-a-time, not all that long ago, had been set up to save for just such a rainy day.  Now we are back to borrowing, and, if someone must do it, it may as well be the government, so the thinking appears to go.  The government has all of our pockets to get its hands into.

Many more people, besides those whom the current floods affected directly, are worried about whether floods affect their livelihoods in the future, where they live and work.  There is a tool that will help them with deciding whether their fears are justified and with making correct decisions that will help to prevent property losses and other undesirable consequences due to flooding in the future anywhere in Alberta. 

The Government of Alberta deserves to be commended to put that tool together and to make it available without any user fees.  Check it out, bookmark it, use it and pass it on to your friends.  It is a valuable tool, worth having, in fact, worth billions of dollars, in terms of loss prevention.

Some may see the link to that tool on the social media, such as Facebook, and there a notification will be displayed along with the link, such as:

Flood Hazard Map Application
By Alberta Environment and Parks
Either scripts and active content are not permitted to run or Adobe Flash Player 10.1.0 or greater is not installed

Don’t worry about the notification identified with the link to the Flood Hazard Map Application. Once you click on the link, a new window will open and Adobe Flash will activate, if you have it enabled on your computer.

Mind you, for smaller locations, the application may not yet identify flood hazard mapping for the area of interest to you.

I suppose, given that the mapping application is available and accessible, it will be next to impossible to blame the Alberta Government for any flood damages you may suffer.

However, the principle and consequences of “buyer beware” will be softened a bit for as long as you can rely on the generosity with taxpayers money by politicians who are only too willing to help you out with the consequences of your decisions to buy or build anything in an area subject to flooding and you experience losses due to the flooding that will surely occur, whereby the generous politicians (at no costs to them) will be seen as being benevolent and without a doubt receive many additional votes when the next elections come around.

It is puzzling why anyone receive a building permit to construct a home or business premise in an area, that is identified as flood-prone on a government map.  Still, the map exists more to protect the governments who issued the permits than the gullible who were enticed to build there.  The map safeguards the government from liability claims.  It is fairly certain that the insurance corporations know of the map.  Those are not likely to pay for damages caused by flooding in a flood-prone area.  The map protects them, too.

On the on the other hand, once they insured a property that got later flooded, they should at least be partially responsible for damages that will eventually be incurred.  It all depends on the fine print in the insurance contract and whose lawyers are the smartest in a dispute over which way a settlement will go.

Property damage due to flooding is used by many (especially politicians) as a great way to boost business, to ignore the risk of flooding or even to promote real estate at risk of flooding, but economically it makes no sense. There is the reality of “the broken window fallacy” that throws a wrench into the works.

Don’t be suckered, and use the Flood Hazard Map Application.  Let’s hope that the tool will be made better yet than it already is.


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2 Responses to Property in flood-prone areas of Alberta

  1. CBC News, Edmnton published an article on how unwise it is to rebuild in flood prone areas. The article shows a map that identifies flood-prone areas in Edmonton.

    Too bad that the article did not identifyy the source of that map,

    The map contains information pertaining to other cities and towns in Alberta that is of interest to those whose propoerties have been and are likely to be affected by flooding.

  2. Are you one of the people who bought into the assertions of various political opportunists that the recent flooding in Southern Alberta, is “the new norm,” a “911 call,” a wake-up call alerting us to the reality of the havoc wreaked by climate change?

    You think that the June 2013 flooding in Southern Alberta is unprecedented?

    Wake up and smell the coffee!

    Report on Six Case Studies of Flood Frequency Analyses
    prepared for Alberta Transportation
    Transportation and Civil Engineering Division
    Civil Projects Branch
    C.R. Neill, Northwest Hydraulic Consultants, Edmonton, Alberta
    W.E. Watt, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario
    April 2001

    Have a look at figures 1.1, 2.1, 3.1, 4.1 and 5.1 in that report.

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