Both of Edmonton's water treatment plants (E.L. Smith
) are located in the river floodplain where they bring untreated water out of the North Saskatchewan River, treat it, and pump safe, clean drinking water out to homes and businesses located in Edmonton and surrounding communities. As these river valley locations present an increased chance of flooding, we have a long-term plan in place to protect the source of Edmonton's drinking water supply.
Why this is needed
Over the next 30 years, climate change modelling predicts that extreme weather will be more frequent and air temperatures will increase. For the North Saskatchewan River, this is expected to lead to higher flows in the winter and spring, with earlier or multiple spring runoff periods, and lower flows during the summer and fall.
While river water quality and river flow is expected to change due to increased extreme weather events and climate change, we have a long-term plan in place to ensure we can successfully manage these changes. This project is part of that plan and will build the plant's resiliency by:
- Limiting potential damage to the E.L. Smith Water Treatment Plant; and
- Ensuring we can resume treating Edmonton's drinking water as quickly as possible after a flood.