The Situation

The Springbank Off-stream Reservoir (SR1) Project is a proposed dry reservoir designed by Stantec that has been developed to mitigate the impacts of large flood flow from the Elbow River. 

The Government of Alberta’s Transport division has proposed the Project in response to the dangers and damage that resulted from the 2013 Southern Alberta floods, which seriously affected the region in and around Calgary. 

The anticipated site in Springbank and the sheer scale of the project has meant that stakeholder engagement proceedings have been taking place throughout the design process to ensure all affected parties are involved.

Our Work 

As dam safety and hydrotechnical specialists, Austin Engineering was approached by the Springbank Community Association, which had formed the SR1 Concerned Landowners Group (SCLG), in November 2020 to undertake an independent review of the Project’s design.

After the Natural Resources Conservation Board (NRCB) approved the design review in mid-December last year, Austin Engineering’s team began reviewing the design and attending community meetings for the Project. 

The chief objective of the design review was to assess and problem-solve any negative effects on downstream residents, landowners, infrastructure and ecology:

  • Identify any risks posed with the engineered design and operation. 
  • To provide recommendations that:
    • Improved dam safety aspects 
    • Prevented long-term dam safety non-conformances or deficiencies.
Having someone answer your questions when you’re a landowner who is impacted by a project is another important component of engineering services. People want to know whether their concerns are valid. During the stakeholder engagement process, we answered technical queries and concerns in layman terms to the very best of our ability.
Ruth Keyes, Dam Safety Engineer, Austin Engineering

Joining weekly meetings with the SCLG during the review, the Hydrotechnical Team worked to translate and communicate industry jargon, answering a range of questions and concerns regarding the effects on their properties and community in a flood emergency, were the reservoir to be built. 

OutcomesAustin Engineering provided the review report to the Government of Alberta, Stantec and other involved parties at the end of February, citing 24 final recommendations for the Project. These recommendations will be presented at the NRCB’s SR1 Hearing this week, which commenced on March 22nd.The recommendations work to align the SR1 Project with the CDA Dam Safety Guidelines 2007 (2013 Edition), of which Austin Engineering is a member. Among the engineering disciplines the business serves, Austin Engineering specializes in dam-related projects and has a focus on municipal dam safety, with experience serving multiple municipal clients throughout British Columbia and Alberta.