10/03/2014 06:50 EDT | Updated 12/03/2014 05:59 EST

Alberta Party urges PC government to build Calgary flood prevention project

CALGARY - The leader of the Alberta Party is calling on the Progressive Conservative government to move ahead with a proposed project to divert water underground to protect Calgary from another flood disaster.

Greg Clark says while it’s good news the province has approved a dry dam for the Springbank area, he says it’s important to get other projects underway, too.

He’s worried Springbank will be delayed by land acquisition, and “we cannot take that risk”, so he’s calling for work to be done on all fronts to make sure Calgary is protected from further catastrophic floods.

A study done for the City of Calgary says an underground tunnel from the Glenmore Reservoir to the Bow River to protect Calgary from future flooding will cost half a billion dollars.

Premier Jim Prentice announced new flood protection measures last week, saying the province will build a south diversion of the Highwood River to protect the town of High River, which saw 13,000 people forced from their homes during flooding in late June 2013.

Prentice also said a deal will also be struck with TransAlta to ensure that the Ghost Reservoir near Cochrane will be able to accommodate overflow from the Bow River to protect Calgary.

About 120,000 people were believed to have been affected after 350 millimetres of rain fell over two days in late June 2013, wiping out roads, bridges, and swamping streets, homes, and vehicles in the region.

The Alberta government says that flooding was the largest and most expensive natural disaster in the province's history. The provincial and federal governments are estimated to spend nearly $5 billion to recover and rebuild.

(CHQR, The Canadian Press)