Red Deer County News

Posted on: March 21, 2018

The Importance Of A Drainage Plan

Drainage (1)

During the Subdivision and Development Permit application process, a Drainage Plan may be required prior to endorsement of a subdivision or approval of a permit. Applicants will often ask two questions: Why is this plan required? And why does the County worry about the drainage on my property?

To answer these questions, we must first identify what a Drainage Plan contains. Drainage Plans must include the following information:
• All drainage routes within the subject parcels including points where drainage may enter or leave these properties including all permanent and temporary water courses, springs or wetlands.
• Drainage directions.
• Locations and footprints of all existing and proposed structures and septic tanks and fields to ensure any drainage routes are not affected.
• Location and sizes of all existing and proposed culverts.
• All existing and proposed drainage easements which are required.

Why is a Drainage Plan required? Flooding accounts for billions of dollars in damage, worldwide, every year. This damage includes private and public property; it includes flooded buildings, road damage, and various other erosion damage. In the worst case, human injuries and death can be the result of flooding and associated property damage. Proper planning and design of developments can significantly reduce possible flooding and reduce any damage. This planning includes, but is not limited to, ensuring drainage routes are adequate to handle the proposed drainage rates and not blocked by proposed development.

Why does the County worry about the drainage on my property? A property owner must understand that any development that is completed on their property affects the drainage, not only on their property, but also on the upstream and downstream neighbors. Drainage routes are a complex combination of various swales, ditches, pipes, rivers, wetlands and lakes which ensure safe movement of surface water from rain events and snow melt. If drainage is blocked, flooding upstream will be the result, while increasing the flow rate may result in flooding downstream where the drainage route is no longer able to handle this increased rate.

During review of the drainage plan, the County may request a drainage easement for major drainage routes which affect multiple properties. An easement is requested to provide access for maintenance and repair to the drainage route by County forces. Easements do not remove ownership from the landowner but does restrict what it can be used for. Uses not allowed on easements would be anything that may affect the free flow of water over this property.

There have been many instances of major floods recently, and many have been caused, or at least the severity has been increased, due to lack of planning in the past. The County has had a number of problems over the years, but with proper foresight and planning we will see a reduction of these events.

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