City of Medicine Hat preparing for flood season

By Leah Murray
April 23, 2018 - 4:52pm Updated: April 23, 2018 - 7:21pm

 

MEDICINE HAT – The City of Medicine Hat is making sure its workers know how to put in the new flood walls in case of a flooding event this year.

Strathcona Island Park was closed off for most of the day as staff worked to erect part of a demountable barrier wall. There are six throughout the city including three on River Road, two in Lions Park/ Strathcona Island Park, and one in Riverside.

Project Engineer Carlie Collier said the trial run ensures city crews are ready to go it a high water event occurs.

“It's one of our highest priority locations. So, when we do get a high water level event, this would be the first location you would see systems set up in,” said Collier.

Water levels in the South Saskatchewan River are high right now with spring run off in the prairies, but there’s currently no risk of flooding.

However, Alberta Environment and Parks said there is no way to know if a flood will happen later this spring.

Officials say the snow pack for the Old Man River basin is 44 per cent higher than normal. The Bow River basin is around 28 per cent over the average.

While the snow pack alone doesn’t usually result in flooding, a significant rain event, like in 2013, could change that.

“[Between May and July] we usually expect flooding due to the rain in combination with the leftover snow in the mountain areas,” said river forecast engineer Khaled Akhtar.

If a flood does occur this year, the city said it is prepared. Berms are already in place in Harlow, Riverside, Lions Park and Strathcona Island Park to protect against future flooding. There are also temporary measures to protect other areas.

The city is currently building the Industrial Avenue berm behind Medalta. There are also plans to construct permanent flood protection measures along Kingsway and Kipling, but the city is waiting to receive funding from the province before moving ahead on those.

Despite appearance, city water still safe to drink