Understanding and Assessing Impacts
Situated not far South of Calgary, the Town of High River finds itself in a strange position of facing both increasing droughts and increasing floods as global climate change continues to shift weather patterns. While not much research has been conducted on the Highwood River, which flows through High River, the Bow River, of which the Highwood River is a tributary, is expected to increase its annual flow by about 42% in some models. These models also indicate that this increased flow will come as the result of higher occurrences of intense rainfall, both of these being factors that could play into another flood like the one High River experience in 2013. The total damage from flooding during the event in 2013 was in excess of $5 billion, and remains one of Canada’s costliest disasters ever. Having lived through a disastrous flood, the Town had a very good idea of exactly what sorts of improvements were needed to be better prepared for future floods. This reduced the need for extensive flood mapping and hand-wringing about the costs; people had seen the damage that can occur. The town received substantial funding from the Provincial government in order to enact the desired changes.