Extreme weather events like heatwaves, forest fires, storm surges and floods are becoming more common. Every year, flooding alone causes millions of dollars in property damage. Approximately 1.7 million Canadian homes are at risk of riverine or overland flooding. And as our climate continues to change, the risk of flooding—and the costs associated with it—are only expected to increase.
But new research funded by the Standards Council of Canada (SCC), the National Research Council and Intact Financial Corporation has identified practical and cost-effective ways to alleviate the risk of future floods.
Entitled Weathering the Storm: Developing a Canadian Standard for Flood-Resilient Existing Communities, the new report from the University of Waterloo’s Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation includes simple steps homeowners can take to prevent flooding, such as:
- installing backwater valves on basement sewer lines;
- disconnecting downspouts from eavestroughs to prevent sewer back-ups; and
- clearing leaves and debris from catch basins.
The report also includes solutions communities can implement to prevent flooding, such as regrading roadways to carry water away from properties, constructing storm water storage tanks and ponds within and around communities, and installing pipes that direct excess storm water away from vulnerable areas.
In 2017, SCC funded another research project by the Intact Centre that identified 20 best practices to design and build new residential communities that are more flood resilient. SCC’s ongoing support for the Intact Centre’s research demonstrates its commitment to finding solutions to address the impact of increased flooding on communities across the country—and is one of the ways in which SCC is drawing attention to the need for standardization strategies to address this critical issue.
“By working with the Intact Centre and our accredited standards development organizations, SCC is laying the foundation for a new national standard that will ensure flood resilience in Canadian communities,” says Chantal Guay, CEO of the Standards Council of Canada. “This collaboration is another example of how standardization strategies can strengthen Canadian infrastructure against climate change—and protect vulnerable communities across the country.”
Developing a National Standard of Canada on flood resilience is a concrete—and necessary—step in ensuring communities are protected as flooding becomes more frequent due to climate change. The information gathered through the Intact Centre’s research will help support this objective and ensure a safer environment for all Canadians in the future.