Flood Hazard Identification

The catastrophic flood event of 2013 brought flooding and flood hazard identification to the forefront in southern Alberta. There are measures being taken at both the provincial and municipal level to assist the public with identifying flood hazards and mitigating future flooding.

Government of Alberta Flood Hazard Identification Program

Updates as of December 21, 2023 - see below

To assist Albertans in mitigating potential flood losses, Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) manages the production of flood hazard studies and mapping under the provincial Flood Hazard Identification Program (FHIP).

Flood hazard mapping identifies areas along water bodies where flood hazards exist using design flood levels. In Alberta the design flood level used is the one per cent flood event - events which have a one percent chance of occurring in any given year, (also sometimes referred to as the one in one hundred year flood).

The Province has released the following draft hazard maps in Foothills County for public engagement:

  • Highwood River
  • Sheep River (includes Three Point Creek)
  • Priddis Creek (includes Fish Creek)
  • Siksika Bow ( Bow River downstream from the confluence of the Highwood River

Engagement opportunities are open for Albertans to provide feedback on new draft flood hazard maps. Feedback will help ensure this work is technically sound. Share your thoughts on the draft flood hazard maps by going to https://www.alberta.ca/flood-study-engagements by February 12, 2024.

The province's Flood Awareness Map Application is the best way to view, interact with, and get more information about flood maps.

There are currently five river hazard studies being undertaken in Foothills County on the Bow River, Elbow River, the Highwood River, the Sheep River and Priddis and Fish Creeks. For detailed information please visit the Government of Alberta's website.

Foothills County's Flood Hazard Protection Overlay District 

Foothills County's Land Use Bylaw 60/2014 created a new land use district in order to to provide for the safe and efficient use of lands within the floodway and flood fringe of all the rivers, streams, creeks and waterways.

The overlay district exists over top of a property's existing land use and includes areas within provincially mapped floodways and flood fringe as well as areas believed to have been impacted by the flood event of 2013.

The intent of this district is to discourage new development on lands subject to flooding and achieve the long term goal of maintaining or decreasing the overall density of development on lands that may be subject to flooding.

In the Flood Hazard Protection Overlay, the permitted and discretionary uses listed in the land use district in which the site is located shall continue to apply if supported by engineering and technical studies and are able to meet all applicable development requirements.

Foothills County River Modelling Projects

With the support of the Government of Alberta, Foothills County retained the services of Advisian to produce detailed river modelling on the Highwood and Little Bow Rivers as part of the Scoping Study of Flood Related Areas of Concern on the Highwood River and Little Bow River within Foothills County.

For more information on this project please see the Flood Scoping Study for Highwood and Little Bow page on the County website.