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L’Alberta will invest $125 million over 5 years to fight against droughts and floods

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Alberta has experienced devastating episodes of drought, particularly during of recent years. (Archive photo)

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The Alberta government plans to dedicate $125 million to projects focused on fighting drought and floods by 2029, notably through the construction of essential infrastructure to protect communities and strengthen their resistance.

The announcement was made Monday in Calgary by Rebecca Schulz and Nate Horner, respectively Minister of Environment and Protected Areas and Minister of Finance.

This multi-year funding, at $25 million per year over five years, is intended for projects submitted by municipalities and Indigenous communities across the province. It is provided for in the 2024 provincial budget which was presented last Thursday.

Projects include the construction of berms, flood barriers, bank protection and stabilization works and retention basins, as well as the construction of diversion structures intended to protect critical infrastructure and ensure public safety .

While emphasizing that droughts and floods can have devastating consequences, particularly on public infrastructure and private property, Rebecca Schulz argued that this provincial grant will help communities put in place infrastructure that would protect them, whatever the circumstances. weather conditions.

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[This funding] will help improve our preparedness for natural disasters to protect the lives and livelihoods of Albertans.

A quote from Rebecca Schulz, Minister of Environment and Protected Areas

According to Rebecca Schulz, the Alberta government expects to receive numerous project submissions across the province.

For his part, Paul McLauchlin, president of rural municipalities of Alberta, highlighted in a press release the efforts of rural municipalities in monitoring and implementing flood and drought mitigation infrastructure. He recalled in this regard that it is the latter that manage more than 85% of Alberta's land mass, including many areas that have always faced risks of drought and flooding. /p>

Tyler Gandam, chair of Alberta Municipalities, highlighted the importance of the provincial funding, the announcement of which comes as Alberta fears a severe drought this year.

The natural disaster funding program is expected to be officially launched later this year, according to the province. That's when the government will provide more details, including eligibility conditions, application deadlines and cost-sharing elements.

The provincial government said the new program leverages Alberta's Community Resilience Program, which ended in 2020.

Furthermore, according to the main lines of the new budget, the province provides in its expenditures funding of $418 million over three years to expand water supply and storage infrastructure.

$10 million is planned to complete feasibility studies to explore water storage options in the Waterton, Belly and St. Mary and in the Ardley Reservoir.

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The floods that occurred in the summer of 2013 in Calgary particularly marked minds in Alberta. (File photo)

Incidents related to natural disasters are common in Alberta. Minister Rebecca Schulz recalled the devastating 2013 floods in Calgary. Around 100,000 residents had to be evacuated, and 4 people lost their lives.

These floods were then considered the costliest natural disaster in history of the country, with property damage estimated at $1.7 billion.

The province has experienced other floods in recent years, such as those that occurred in 2016 in Fort McMurray, in 2020 in Peace River and in the hamlet of Vermilion or, recently, the floods that affected Edson, Whitecourt and 'other communities.

The province has also experienced droughts, particularly in 2021, which have had serious consequences for agriculture. Last summer, 15 Alberta municipalities declared agricultural disasters due to dry conditions.

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