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Experts Combat Community Flooding, Canada's Costliest Extreme Weather Challenge

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Waterloo, ON (Apr. 3, 2017) – The Standards Council of Canada (SCC) and the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation (ICCA) 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.

"Through flood-resilient community design, the Intact Centre and SCC are helping Canadians to protect their primary financial investment – their homes," said Professor Blair Feltmate, head, Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation, University of Waterloo. "Against the growing threat of ever increasing floods, SCC's leadership is enabling Canada to live up to its commitment to address the otherwise costly impact of extreme weather."

"As we improve our understanding of the risks of a changing climate, SCC is proud to work with organizations like the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation to ensure that climate change, climate resiliency and adaptation are considered in Canada's critical infrastructure standards," said John Walter, CEO, Standards Council of Canada. "Given the huge costs associated with flooding in Canada, the standardization solutions that come from this effort will bring great value to Canada and to Canadians."

About the University of Waterloo

University of Waterloo is Canada's top innovation university. With more than 36,000 students we are home to the world's largest co-operative education system of its kind. Our unmatched entrepreneurial culture, combined with an intensive focus on research, powers one of the top innovation hubs in the world. Find out more at uwaterloo.ca.

About the Standards Council of Canada

SCC is a Crown corporation and part of the Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada portfolio that leads and facilitates the development and use of national and international standards and accreditation services in order to enhance Canada's competitiveness and well-being. For additional information on SCC, visit www.scc.ca.

Source: Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation (ICCA)


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