The City of Edmonton has announced forward motion on its flood mitigation strategy, which will focus on flood risk, potential costs, and schedules outlined for residential areas and underpasses

As the next step in the city’s examination of upgrades to drainage infrastructure, staff will outline flood mitigation options in two reports at Utility Committee on June 9th. One report identifies engineering assessments of flood risk in over 160 residential neighbourhoods, and a complementary report outlines a high-level study of smaller-scale options to reduce underpass flooding at high-risk locations.

“Edmonton needs to invest to protect residents, homes, and businesses as one of many Canadian municipalities preparing for changing weather patterns. Council will consider four options based on extensive infrastructure and rainfall studies. Public engagement will continue through 2018 while staff continue to advance the strategy forward,” says Todd Wyman, director in the City’s Sustainable Development department.

Options presented balance risk, cost, and the likelihood of major rainstorms. Cost estimates range from $2.2 billion to $4.6 billion, with potential construction taking anywhere from 20 to 82 years. Next steps include working with EPCOR to examine the impact of the City-wide Flood Mitigation Strategy on the drainage utility rates and public engagement results to date.

Neighbourhood-specific recommendations and costs will be developed once administration completes a framework for prioritizing which neighbourhoods need work first. Options for flood mitigation could also impact solutions for underpass flooding, as upgrading the system holistically will increase capacity to absorb rainfall that might otherwise flood roadways.

Flood mitigation is a priority for both the City and EPCOR, and project work and public engagement will continue during the transition period of drainage operations from the City of Edmonton to EPCOR. The transfer date is set for September 1, 2017.

On April 12th, Edmonton City Council decided to move its drainage utility from a city run utility to EPCOR. Read Water Canada’s coverage here.


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