A five year agreement has been reached between the Province of Alberta and TransAlta.
The agreement will provide flood protection to Calgary, as well as protect communities from drought. As weather patterns for Southern Alberta continue to change, future floods and droughts are expected to become more common and severe.
Cam Westhead, MLA for Banff-Cochrane says, the mitigation plans for TransAlta will be complementary to those efforts made at Springbank.
"Modified operations at the TransAlta facilities provide another layer of resilience. Modified use of existing water management infrastructure complements our other flood and drought resiliency efforts including things like community level mitigation, new flood hazard mapping, and the restoration of wetlands and riparian areas."
The agreement will provide the same relief as last year, providing the province with 65 million cubic metres of flood storage during peak run off season.
To aid TransAlta, the signed agreement will provide 5.5 million dollars in compensation annually to offset the impacts that modified operations will have. Westhead says as far as he understands the agreement will not affect jobs at the facility.
"The compensation is primarily due to the higher level of water the more the electricity they are able to generate (just because the way the dam and physics operate) and so the compensation is for the impact that modifications will have on how they are able to generate power."
For those that live and recreate around Ghost Lake reservoir, an assessment will be done.
"The lower water levels at the reservoir during the period of the agreement are still within the operating limits of TransAlta's water license. We are going to be undertaking an assessment of water supply issues in the summer village of Ghost Lake."
Westhead adds plans are in the making to help the community stay afloat, and will be discussing these with area residents and businesses.
"Some of things we will be looking at as possible solutions would include things like installing a temporary water supply for the summer village and extending boat launches as we did last year. I know also questions of access to water for fire suppression purposes is something that has come up and it is something we are committed to making sure we have a solution to that as well."
Modified operations at Ghost reservoir will run from May 16 to July 7 each year.