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Alberta government, TransAlta reach deal on flood and drought protection

CALGARY – The Alberta government and power producer TransAlta have agreed to alter water levels at four hydroelectric sites west of Calgary to protect against floods and drought.

The province is to pay the company $27.5 million over five years as compensation for the reduced power-generating ability at the plants.

The deal will allow the province to make changes at the Ghost Reservoir, along the Bow River, between May 16 and July 7 each year to prevent flooding in the Calgary area.

The Bow was one of the southern Alberta rivers that overflowed in 2013 and swamped much of downtown Calgary in one of the costliest natural disasters in Canadian history.

TransAlta (TSX:TA) says the deal is similar to arrangements in 2014 and 2015, which lowered water levels at the Ghost Reservoir to provide storage during high runoff.

The deal also includes changes at three reservoirs in Kananaskis Country to help boost flows on the Bow River during dry periods or to provide extra floodwater storage.