Experts Combat Community Flooding, Canada’s Costliest Extreme Weather Challenge
The Standards Council of Canada (SCC) and the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation (Intact Centre) at the University of Waterloo will join forces to develop a new report on best practices for making new residential communities flood-resilient. The partnership comes as a result of the growing number of costly and severe flooding events in various parts of the country.
Over the past year, and with support from SCC, the Intact Centre has engaged a group of national stakeholders—including municipalities, conservation authorities, engineers, developers, homebuilders and insurers—to identify standardization solutions that will lower the risk of overland flooding, storm-water flooding and sewer backups in new residential communities.
Examples of community design features that can collectively reduce flood risk include:
- Avoiding floodplains when developing new communities
- Modeling climate uncertainty and extreme weather events (ice jams, snowmelt, extreme rain) in the design of new subdivisions
- Protecting natural features (e.g., wetlands) along rivers and streams to slow floodwater
- Installing backwater valves to prevent sewage in overloaded sewer lines from backing up into basements
In support of this national effort, and in a clear demonstration that identifying strategies to reduce flood risk due to a changing climate is a growing national concern, a group of 25 experts from across the country came together in Toronto on March 24, 2017 to discuss flood-risk reduction and practical approaches. Improved residential community design features will result based on their feedback, together with additional consultations with subject-matter experts.
Based on these design features, SCC and the Intact Centre plan to develop a national standard, or series of standards, that will serve the interests of future new residential home owners, builders and communities. Developing climate-resilient codes and standards is consistent with Canada’s commitment to climate adaptation and a priority under the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change.