National flood-resiliency standard sought

SPECIFICS FOR a national standard for flood-resilient communities are sought in a new report from the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation at the University of Waterloo.
It outlines 20 best practices that could to be incorporated into design and construction and requests feedback from stakeholders by Oct. 31.

“Ensuring that new communities are built under the direction of these practices is necessary to combat ever-worsening extreme weather that, if not addressed, will result in costly and unremitting flood damage,” the authors write in the 50- page report titled ‘Preventing disaster before it strikes: Developing a Canadian standard for new flood-resilient residential communities.’

Comment is sought on the effectiveness of best practices to reduce flood risk and their practicality for implementation, additional best practices that can lead to flood risk reduction for new residential communities and barriers to implementation which could hinder the uptake of best practices.

Following stakeholder consultation, the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation will assess feedback and pursue the development of a national standard.

Authors Natalia Moudrak and Blair Feltmate have organized the 20 draft best practices into six categories of flood-resilient residential community design considerations:
1. Design for resilience to address weather and operational uncertainties;
2. Storm sewer design (minor drainage system considerations);
3. Sanitary sewer design (wastewater drainage system considerations);
4. Street design (major drainage system considerations);
5. Wastewater pumping station design, and
6. Preservation of natural features.

The report sets out specific feedback sought from readers and stakeholders for each draft best practice.

It also presents several initiatives which would complement a national standard and support flood risk reduction in Canada.

They include:
# Up-to-date, forward-looking floodplain maps;
# Consistent definitions of ‘floodway’ and ‘flood fringe;’
# Homeowner education;
# Ongoing maintenance;
# Inspections and monitoring, and
# Engagement with developers and homebuilders.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada welcomed the report.
“We need our communities across Canada to be more resilient when faced with flooding,” IBC ceo Don Forgeron said. “Setting standards for new community construction is a good first step.”

He said governments across Canada and organizations like the IBC and Intact Centre must work together and lead a “whole of society” approach to reduce risks for consumers.

The full report is available at