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Developing barriers to protect equipment and water reservoirs 

To protect the E.L. Smith Water Treatment Plant in a situation where the North Saskatchewan River overtops its banks, our engineering studies have shown that permanent flood barriers are needed in key locations around the facility. Once constructed, these barriers will limit potential damage to critical equipment and drinking water reservoirs, and ensure that we can resume producing clean drinking water as quickly as possible after a flood.

We have compiled and assessed all of the perspectives, suggestions, and comments received during community engagement. The following map shows the a combination of grass-covered embankments and flood walls that will be built around E.L. Smith to meet technical requirements, reduce the impacts to vegetation and minimize the cost to rate payers.​



Types of flood barriers​

Two types of flood barriers can be used to protect the water treatment plant in the case of a major flood:​​​

Gra​ss-covered embankments topped with security fencing

  • The embankments are natural looking
  • They have specific landscaping requirements that can only accommodate naturalized grasses or sod so the area can be mowed. Large vegetation can prevent proper inspections, create seepage pathways, and encourage burrowing animals.

Flood walls topped with security fencing

  • Flood walls generally take up a smaller amount of space.

  • Security fencing on top of the flood barriers protects the water reservoirs and treatment plant.

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With either type of flood barrier (wall or grass-covered embankment) buffer zones are in place that restrict the type of vegetation that can be replanted. The buffer zone is about 5m from the wall or end of the embankment slope. This is to maintain the structural integrity of the barrier. Sod or naturalized grasses​​ are the only option for replanting here. Roots from large vegetation can encourage burrowing animals.​​