Water Programs

Emergency Flood Damage Reduction Program

The Emergency Flood Damage Reduction Program (EFDRP) provides assistance with the implementation of emergency flood protection measures for communities, rural municipalities, businesses, non-profit organizations, individuals with rural yard sites, country residences, and cottages to prevent damage from imminent flooding.  First Nations that may be impacted by flooding are encouraged to contact Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada or the Water Security Agency for support.

Imminent flooding includes situations in which residences, and/or other buildings are highly likely to incur damage from flooding as a result of a hydrologic event underway or where a water body has attained an elevation such that in the judgement of the Water Security Agency additional precipitation within a calendar year poses a significant risk.

Protecting citizens from water borne illnesses is an important aspect of providing security during and after a flood. The program will provide testing and advice on disinfection, if needed, for private wells providing water used for consumptive purposes that may have been affected by flood waters. 

Program assistance is available to protect communities, businesses, non-profit organizations, rural yard sites, country residences, cottages, and drinking water wells to prevent damage from imminent flooding. 

The program provides cost-sharing assistance for flood protection measures provided:

  • the work is described as eligible in the program profile and provides protection from imminent flooding
  • eligible costs are incurred up to December 31.
  • the work has been recommended by an engineer or technical specialist
  • approval to undertake the work is secured in advance, when possible, from the Water Security Agency
  • if prior approval is not obtained, WSA will review the work to determine if it is the least cost option and can be covered by the program
  • the applicable regulatory approvals are obtained prior to the start of construction (e.g. drainage approval, Aquatic Habitat Protection Permit, etc.)

The Water Security Agency will or may require construction of the most cost-effective works to address the imminent flood risk.

The protection from flooding of cropland, pastureland, orchards, golf courses or gardens, ground water seepage into buildings and shoreline erosion protection are not covered under the program.

Only temporary flood protection supplies such as sandbags purchased under this program will be cost-shared.  Assistance within communities must be coordinated through the municipality.  The Water Security Agency will fund the municipality at the appropriate rate.

The program will not provide funding for flood protection measures which qualify for assistance under the Provincial Disaster Assistance Program administered by the Ministry of Government Relations.

The program will also provide funding for completion of the construction of permanent flood protection measures which were part of a number of projects approved under the previous year's Emergency Flood Damage Reduction Program that were unable to be completed within that year.


Inquiries for engineering and technical assistance, applications for financial assistance under the program, and testing and analysis services for private ground water supplies should be directed to the Water Security Agency’s Regional Offices. 

Where there is sufficient time, a technical investigation will be undertaken and a brief report recommending options to mitigate flooding will be prepared for the client.

Upon Water Security Agency approval of the flood protection measures, the client (community, rural municipality, business, non-profit organization or individual) is required to sign an agreement with the Water Security Agency outlining the flood protection measures to be implemented, the cost-sharing rates and other terms satisfactory to WSA.

Once an agreement is signed, the client will undertake the work or hire a contractor to undertake the work.  Upon completion of the work, original paid receipts will be submitted to the Water Security Agency for payment in accordance with the cost-sharing provisions.  The Water Security Agency will not be responsible for interest charges on paid or unpaid invoices.

Final payment to the client is subject to final inspection and the receipt of required documentation (e.g. equipment logs, timesheets, invoices and paid receipts).

Where there is insufficient time prior to flooding, an agreement may be established after the work is commenced.  This only applies to emergent situations and the client is required to contact the Water Security Agency as soon as possible after the flood event.  Grant payments that are considered will be based upon the minimum works that would have been needed to deal with the flood threat.

As a condition for assistance, the proponent shall hold the Water Security Agency and the contracted consultants, agents and contractors contracted to the Water Security Agency harmless from all damages or claims which may result from works and ground water testing undertaken pursuant to this program

Assistance Available

Engineering and other technical support to evaluate the potential flood risk to buildings and to identify options to mitigate the risk will be covered by the program at 100 per cent when flooding is imminent.  Services are expected to include client discussions, site visits, hydrologic and other technical evaluations and the development of mitigation recommendations. 

Bags for sandbagging are available to municipalities from the Ministry of Government Relations.  Individuals should obtain the bags from their local municipal government.  If a client purchases bags, the purchase of the bags will also be covered at 100 per cent.

Implementation of flood protection measures must adhere to all federal and provincial regulatory requirements.

Emergency flood protection measures include those that are permanent and those that are temporary:

  • Emergency permanent flood protection measures will be designed to have an immediate flood protection benefit, but also provide long-term flood protection.  Emergency permanent flood protection measures covered by the program include:
    • Construction of permanent dykes/berms* 
    • Installation of culverts and gates (if applicable)* 
    • Construction of  permanent diversion works or channel improvements* 
    • Building relocation if this is the least cost option and capped at $100,000.

                   *A drainage approval and/or an Aquatic Habitat Protection Permit may be required

  • Emergency temporary flood protection measures covered by the program include:
    • Sandbags, material to fill sandbags, equipment rental to fill sandbags, plastic or poly to cover sandbags, placement of sandbags with machinery, and cleanup
    • Temporary dykes/berms ( but not including aqua-dams, water tubes or basket type dykes)
    • Construction of  temporary diversion works*
    • Channel clearing*
    • Pumping to prevent damage from overland flooding*

                   *A drainage approval and/or an Aquatic Habitat Protection Permit may be required

Measures not covered by the program:

  • Snow removal and culvert steaming 
  • Shoreline erosion mitigation or protection
  • Slope failure mitigation or protection 
  • Protection of wastewater lagoons or septic systems, boathouses and docks and corrals and feedlots
  • Landscaping
  • Use of reusable temporary flood mitigation measures (water tubes, refillable water barriers, etc.)
  • Protection of grain bins or bags (unless located within a yard site and are included with the flood protection measures for the yard site buildings)
  • Maintenance or development of public roads or private farm access roads (unless the road acts as a dyke/berm to protect buildings from flooding)

Eligible costs:

  • Erosion control materials for permanent flood protection measures such as permanent dykes/berms and diversion works
  • Road haul levies as part of materials costs (typically included in costs charged by contractors)
  • Culvert and culvert gate purchases
  • Contracted labour or overtime labour for employees of the client or employees hired specifically to implement flood protection measures
  • Materials to facilitate sandbagging efforts or temporary dykes
  • Equipment rental (e.g. pumps and machinery)
  • Costs of extraction and reclamation when materials are sourced from client's own land
  • Clients use of their own pumping equipment or machinery (at standard industry rates less the labour)
  • Provincial Sales Tax for all clients (when paid on invoices)
  • Goods and Services Tax (only for individual clients when paid on invoices)

Ineligible costs:

  • Pumping from within a structure (e.g. flooded basement) or regular basement sump pump operation
  • Purchase of a pump or associated pumping equipment
  • Purchase of materials sourced from the client's own land (clay, sand, rock, etc.)
  • Purchase of reusable temporary mitigation products (refillable dykes, water tubes, etc.)
  • Repairs to buildings
  • Repair of washed out roads
  • Non-overtime labour for employees
  • Labour to protect the client’s own property (including family members who reside at the same residence)
  • Voluntary labour
  • Food, refreshments or equipment purchases (e.g. tools, gloves, etc.)
  • Rental of hand tools or power tools owned or purchased by the client
  • Government Sales Tax (if it is refundable to the client)


Cost-shared financial assistance will be provided by the Water Security Agency in accordance with the following categories:

a)      Communities and Rural Municipalities

75 per cent of costs for construction of emergency permanent flood protection measures

50 per cent of costs for the implementation of emergency temporary flood protection measures

b)      Businesses and Non-Profit Organizations

85 per cent of costs for construction of emergency permanent flood protection measures

50 per cent of costs for the implementation of emergency temporary flood protection measures

c)      Non-Profit (Charitable Organizations)

100 per cent of costs for construction of emergency permanent and temporary flood protection measures

d)     Individuals

85 per cent of costs for construction of emergency permanent flood protection measures

85 per cent of costs for the implementation of emergency temporary flood protection measures

100 percent of costs associated with sampling and analyzing water quality from private drinking water wells impacted by flooding.  The well owner is required to contact the WSA and make arrangements for testing and disinfect the well prior to testing

The program will provide assistance for sampling and analysis of samples from private wells providing water used for consumptive purposes supplies that may have become contaminated by flood waters.  Service may include on-site sampling by technical staff, laboratory analysis of the sample, and communicating the results of the laboratory analysis. 

As almost all wells require shock chlorination after flooding, testing of wells will only be provided after the shock chlorination has been conducted. Lab analysis is limited to nitrates, total coliform and E-coli which are the typical contaminants associated with flooded wells.  This service is available to residents using private water supplies and water cisterns.  However, this service does not guarantee the safety of the water supply and the well owner maintains responsibility for the use of the supply.

Program Contact

For more information please contact your nearest Water Security Agency Regional Office.