Statement by David Swann: Two Years On, Action Still Needed on Flood Mitigation

EDMONTON, AB (June 18, 2015): Today in the house, Dr. David Swann made the following statement:

“On June 20, river communities in Calgary will be gathering to celebrate the spirit that brought so many people together during the 2013 flood.

“Stories will be shared about recovery, resiliency, and the power of community.

“But two years on, while some local measures have been taken by the City to reduce the risk along the Bow and Elbow rivers, much remains to be done to reduce the risk from the next, inevitable, flood.

“Two years and many consultations and reports later, Calgary has yet to see a comprehensive upstream mitigation strategy in place for the Bow and Elbow Rivers.

“Excellent work has been done by groups including WaterSmart Solutions; most recently Room for the River process which provide cost-benefit scenarios. It is time to make decisions.

“In fact all Albertans living in the South Saskatchewan River Basin deserve to see evidence-based watershed management beginning in the eastern slopes from the Provincial Government.

“Part of the solution is the long-awaited land-use plan which defines priority development and conservation activities in relation to our major waterways. This needs new momentum, as well.

“And clearly for the Bow, a long-term water management agreement is needed between TransAlta and the province, which takes into account both flood and drought mitigation, and must be public.  No more backroom deals!

“Ironically drought this year appears to be more likely than flood in southern AB and is highlighting the need for all stakeholders including irrigation districts to be at the table.

“The financial and human cost of both flooding and droughts can be minimized through a range of evidence-based upstream natural and engineered developments and will be a defining task for this new government.

“On behalf of my constituents in Calgary and all Albertans, I call on this government to make this a priority.”