National Roundtable on Flood Risk; Regina – November 16, 2017
The Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, hosted a National Round Table on Flood Risk on November 16th. The event was held in Regina and included over 50 water professionals around the table plus another 50 around the outside of the room in support positions.
There were delegates representing several federal departments and from every province. The insurance sector had significant representation as did First Nations and the academic sector. Municipalities and the utility sector were represented by Daniel Rubenstein of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and Robert Haller for the CWWA. Robert acknowledged the tremendous support from Hiran Sandanayake, Chair of CWWA’s Climate Change Committee, for his role as an advisor to the Ministry when developing the scope of this round table and for his extra effort to prepare CWWA to provide meaningful input.
The purpose was to facilitate a national dialogue on flooding in Canada and to reconsider the risks as well as the potential for mitigation and recovery. The federal government sought to clarify itsrole with that of the provinces and how to work with First Nations and municipalities to address growing concerns related to the growing occurrence of extreme storms and the expected impacts of continued climate change.
Discussions included the need for new mapping and a new way to predict climate impacts as well as a clarification between fluvial flooding (rivers) from coastal flooding (oceans) from pluvial flooding (severe rain). CWWA spoke to the need to consider pluvial flooding in urban areas as a major concern placing many at risk who are outside of an identified fluvial flood zone.
There was great discussion on the "ownership" of the risk between property owners, the municipality, the province and the federal government – and the role of the insurance sector. Much of the discussion focused on the need for public awareness and engagement to take preventative action.
At the end of the session, the group agreed on the importance of better mapping and an integrated campaign to educate property owners. There was also an agreement to establish an ongoing advisory committee to determine the next steps forward.
CWWA Executive Director Robert Haller poses with the Hon. Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
CWWA Executive Director Robert Haller addresses the National Round Table of Flood Risk