Some low-laying areas of Medicine Hat are historically prone to flooding, typically during June. On this page you will find information about flooding in Medicine Hat, your risks, and how to prepare for (and recover from) flood events. It is also to show the flood mitigation methods the City has undertaken and is currently working on.
Understanding flood maps
FLOOD HAZARD AREA
WHAT IS A 1 in 100 YEAR FLOOD?
WHY DOES MEDICINE HAT EXPERIENCE FLOODS?
FLOODING AND MOLD
Additional health-related information
Since the 2013 flood, the City of Medicine Hat has embarked on a committed effort towards various flood mitigation and resilience projects throughout the city, involving extensive community engagement. Projects include:
• Storm sewer back up protection (PDF)
• Sanitary sewer isolation valve assistance program (program now closed)
• River Flats sink hole study (PDF)
• Trail rehabilitation (PDF)
WILL THE FLOOD FRINGE AREAS CHANGE AFTER BERMS ARE COMPLETE?
Once construction of all the planned Medicine Hat berms/dikes are completed, engineers expect that there will be significantly more protection from flooding (overland flow) within inhabited flood-prone areas in the city.
However, accurate projections of future flooding in Medicine Hat are infeasible due to mitigation measures which have been established upstream (e.g. Calgary, other communities) and other unforeseeable variables. The current design standard in Alberta is the one per cent flood (1:100). According to AEP, design flood levels (and therefore mapping) do not change as a result of development or obstruction of flows within the flood fringe.
• Learn more about flood hazard mapping. (AEP)
• View a complete and in-progress list of projects (PDF) related to flood recovery and resilience, including berm projects in specific areas of the city.
• Frequently asked questions about flood mitigation.
• Learn more about water treatment and distribution in Medicine Hat.
IF A FLOOD IS IMMINENT, TYPICALLY CITY CREWS WILL:
ARE YOU PREPARED FOR A FLOOD?
For more information:
TEMPORARY BARRIERS FOR FLOODING
PREVENTING SEWER BACKUP
OTHER THAN FLOODING, WHAT CAN CAUSE SEWER BACKUP?
CAN I GET OVERLAND FLOOD INSURANCE?
WHEN CAN I RETURN HOME AFTER A FLOOD?
STEPS TO TAKE WHEN YOU REACH YOUR HOME:
PROFESSIONAL CLEANERS vs. DO-IT-YOURSELF
STEP 1: Gather necessary cleaning supplies
STEP 2: Sort damaged items - Discard or repair/clean?
STEP 3: Clean and sanitize one room at a time
STEP 4: Dry out your home and remove mildew by lowering the humidity
DISPOSING OF WASTE
If you’ve completed or are considering any type of rebuilding, or construction at your property, ensure you know what permits are required, and have The City inspect the work for safety.
RESTORING YOUR HOME
Structurally damaged homes
If your home was determined to have structural damage, you should hire a structural engineer to further assess the damages and to help determine your next steps.
If your structural engineer feels the damages can be repaired, a Building Permit will be required along with a structural engineer’s review.
• For information about slope failure on private land, visit Slope stability management.
Making changes to floor plan
If you are considering changing the floor plan of your basement, or developing a previously undeveloped basement, a Building Permit is required.
Recovering your basement
If your basement was finished prior to the flood, and you have an existing building permit in place for its development, a new building permit is not required (provided you are not changing the floor plan following the flood).
If you’re not sure if you have a building permit to develop your basement, call Planning & Development Services at 403.529.8374.
• For further information, visit Home renovations & finishing basements.
REBUILDING YOUR HOME
We recommend you work with a licensed general contractor to discuss the process involved in demolishing an existing home, and planning for the construction of a new home.
When you have settled on a house plan, schedule a pre-application meeting with Planning & Development Services (403.529.8374) before submitting your plans for approval.
• Visit New house construction to learn more about development, building and trade permits requirements.
REBUILDING IN THE FLOOD FRINGE
There are guidelines for flood proofing which were adopted by the Municipal Planning Commission and adopted by Council on December 18th, 1995.
The Land Use Bylaw states that: "The Commission or the Development Officer shall require that a building in the flood fringe be flood proofed as a condition of issuing a development permit for the building".
The five approved flood-proofing methods are:
1. Use fill to raise the elevation of the building above possible flood level. (Structural engineer involvement required)
2. Raise the building on posts, piles or piers. (Structural engineer involvement required).
3. Build a water tight basement. (Structural engineer involvement required).
4. Build a berm or floodwall, the top of which is above the design flood level, around the building or buildings. (Structural engineer involvement required).
5. Allow the foundation and basement to become flooded (wet flood proofing which equalizes water pressure on the foundation walls). In this case, the basement must not be developed. The mechanical (hot water heater, furnace and electrical panel) must be located on the main floor. The main floor level must be above the design flood level.
Each method has advantages and disadvantages in terms of effectiveness, cost and aesthetics.
DISASTER RECOVERY PROGRAM
To learn about disaster assistance, visit AEMA Assistance and Recovery Support.
If funding is being provided to you by the Disaster Recovery Program (DRP), the construction and material used for the restoration must comply with specific standards. You must also have a flood mitigation permit form available at the time of each inspection. See below:
Standata Disaster Recovery Program (PDF) Outlines the flood mitigation measures required for DRP funding for residences and small businesses irreparably damaged and located in the flood fringe.
HELP IN TIMES OF CRISIS
There are several support services to provide relief people in emergency situations, through the City of Medicine Hat, the Province of Alberta and community support groups.
PHONE 911 for medical emergencies or immediate danger!
Emergency Social Services - provides help to people affected by emergency situations in Medicine Hat, Redcliff and Cypress County.
Canadian Red Cross - offers a network of programs and services that actively reach out and serve local communities. May also provide emergency food, clothing, accommodation and personal services for up to 72 hours to people following an assessment, who have been affected by local, small-scale disasters. Ph. 403.526.3048.
Salvation Army Family Support Centre (Facebook page) - provides assistance with basic needs such as food, shelter and clothing, in a caring environment. Ph. 402.526.9699.
Medicine Hat and District Food Bank - a facility where individuals or families in temporary need of food in our community have access to the support they need. Ph. 403.528.4313.
Health Link (AHS) Do you have a health concern for yourself or a child? Health Link offers quick and easy advice from a registered nurse 24/7. They will answer questions, assess symptoms and determine the best care for you. Ph. 811 (within Alberta.) Ph. 1.866.408.5465 (outside Alberta).
Community Mental Health Service - a place where you can talk to someone about difficulties you may be having in coping with a traumatic situation. Your counsellor will listen, discuss options, will help you choose goals and strategies, and make suggestions. Ph. 403.529.3500.
Alberta Supports offers access to more than 30 programs and 120 community services for seniors, homelessness, financial needs, families, people with disabilities and more. Ph. 1.877.644.9992 toll free.
Disaster Recovery Program (AEMA) provides disaster recovery funding for eligible recipients. Municipalities must apply for disaster recovery programs on behalf of their residents.
ALBERTA FLOODS OF 2013
After the flood events of June 2013 which affected several southern Alberta communities, including Medicine Hat, the Alberta government established assistance programs. However, those programs have been discontinued.
• View June 2013 Southern Alberta Floods - One Year Report (PDF)