Climate change adaptation

Illustration by Adrian Forrow

The effects of climate change are starting to hit home to Canadians, as city and country dwellers alike experience more frequent bouts of extreme weather.

Record flooding experienced in 2013 in Calgary and Toronto, along with a major ice storm triggering blackouts across eastern Canada, caused billions of dollars in damage to infrastructure, business and homes.

In response, the University of Waterloo partnered up with insurance provider Intact Financial Corporation on a national climate change adaptation initiative that will see 20 demonstration projects launched across the country. The projects will aim to reduce the physical, financial and social impacts of extreme weather.

“The events of the last year clearly demonstrate the need to weather-harden our communities, our infrastructure and our homes,” said Blair Feltmate, professor and chair of the Climate Change Adaptation Project at the university. 

The 20 projects were chosen from 75 submissions and will involve locations in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia. All will be designed to showcase the viability and cost effectiveness of approaches “that ultimately will be replicated in communities across the country.”

A big focus will be on reducing the impact of torrential rain on infrastructure by restoring urban wetlands and deploying rain gardens, bio-swales and permeable surface parking lots and roadways. For cities on the water, limiting coastal erosion will also be an objective.

The projects have been funded in full by a grant from Intact.

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