Alberta allots $125M for community drought, flood projects

Alberta is taking action to help communities prepare for potential drought and floods.

Minister of Environment and Protected Areas, Rebecca Schulz, and Minister of Finance, Nate Horner, announced Monday the launch of the new Drought and Flood Protection Program, which would slate $125 million over five years to help vulnerable municipalities and Indigenous communities develop long-term infrastructure needed to improve drought and flood resilience and adapt to severe weather.

The funding of this program hinges on the passing of Budget 2024.

Possible program-funding projects could include the relocation of drought-proof critical infrastructure, improving drainage or water retention ponds, the stabilization of riverbanks, and the construction of flood barriers.

The province says the program is application-based and municipalities, improvement districts, special areas, Metis settlements, and First Nations are all eligible to apply.

The new program builds on the work of the Alberta Community Resilience Program, according to the government, which ended in 2020.

More details on the program, including eligibility requirements, application deadlines, and cost-sharing components, will be released when the program opens later this year.

The announcement comes as a severe wildfire and drought season is expected following months of below-average precipitation and warm weather across the province.

Alberta has also taken other steps to prepare for this likely reality, including standing up the Drought Command Team, creating the new Water Advisory Committee, and conducting advanced modelling.

The province also says it has launched the largest voluntary water-sharing discussions in the provincial history.

Disaster recovery programs in Alberta have paid out over $1.7 billion to cover uninsured losses associated with flooding since 2010. There has also been over $5 billion in insured losses.

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