“Across Canada Workshop Series” to showcase BC's Watershed-Based Solutions & Tools
Mimic the Water Balance to Adapt to a Changing Climate
Intact Financial Corporation and the University of Waterloo have partnered to deliver a national initiative involving projects designed to reduce the physical, financial and social impacts of extreme weather events. They are supporting 20 projects located across the country, including a workshop series that will feature British Columbia’s Water Balance Model Express for Landowners.
Starting on October 23 and ending on November 3, the 5-city series will feature workshop events in Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Halifax. Practitioners will have an opportunity to learn about cost-effective tools for climate adaptation and watershed health.
Climate Change Adaptation is About Water
“Communities across the country are grappling with the challenge of how best to move forward on Watershed Health issues in light of a changing climate and financial drivers to provide higher levels-of-service at reduced levels-of-cost,” states Ted van der Gulik, President of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC.
“Climate change adaptation is about water. Long-term success in building community resiliency will depend on whether and how well we are able to mimic the Natural Water Balance.”
Slow, Spread and Sink Rainwater Runoff
“The Across Canada Series will be an opportunity for water resource and infrastructure practitioners to learn about British Columbia’s collaborative and science-based approach to protecting and restoring watershed health,” continues Dr. Blair Feltmate, chair of the Climate Change Adaptation Project (CCAP) at the University of Waterloo.
“The series was selected from 75 submissions made by conservation authorities and non-governmental organizations from across the country. It met the project’s mandate to showcase viable and cost-effective adaptation solutions that ultimately will be replicated in communities across the country.”
“The frequency and magnitude of extreme weather events – from the floods in Southern Alberta and Toronto to the December ice storm in Central and Eastern Canada – are increasing, causing billions of dollars in damage to infrastructure, businesses and homeowners.”
“Climate change is a reality, and the events of the last year clearly demonstrate the need to ‘design with nature’ to weather-harden our communities, our infrastructure and our homes. This starts with teaching landowners to “slow, sink and spread” rainwater on their properties,” emphasizes Dr. Feltmate.
The New Climate Reality
“As a society, Canada must adapt to the new climate reality, and ensure that our cities, communities, infrastructure and buildings are resilient to extreme weather,” concludes Charles Brindamour, Chief Executive Officer of Intact Financial Corporation. “This is a multi-stakeholder endeavour and we are thankful to the governmental agencies, NGOs and consumers that will participate in these projects. Together we will foster adaptation initiatives that will allow Canadians to better adapt to our changing climate.”
To Learn More:
In 2002, looking at rainfall differently led the Province of British Columbia to adopt the Water Balance Methodology, initiate a performance target approach to capturing rain where it falls, and initiate changes in the ways rainwater runoff is returned to streams. This resulted in development of the Water Balance Model, a web-based scenario comparison tool. Users can quantify the impacts of land use and climate changes on the Water Footprint and hence Watershed Health.