Years of warnings about poor flood plans ignored previous to B.C. floods, says consulting agency |

Years of warnings about poor flood plans ignored prior to B.C. floods, says consulting firm  |

2021-11-24 07:29:27

Years of warnings about insufficient flood prevention and mitigation measures have been ignored forward of final week’s catastrophic flooding, says a Vancouver-based flood administration consulting agency.

In a report earlier this 12 months, Ebbwater Consulting warned the “present mannequin for flood threat governance in B.C. is damaged,” and suggested the province to take a extra proactive strategy.

That builds on years of concern about greater than 1,100 kilometres of sporadically maintained dikes throughout the province, mentioned the agency’s principal and founding engineer Tamsin Lyle.

“For the final 20 to 30 years we’ve been presenting this data, offering updates on what we predict it will price if there was a big flood within the Fraser Valley or elsewhere within the nation or within the province,” she informed International Information.

“However for probably the most half that falls on deaf ears till there’s truly an occasion.”

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In 1948, dike breaches contributed to probably the most damaging floods in B.C. historical past, based on the province.

That flood within the Fraser Valley — elements of that are underwater once more this week — brought about a number of casualties, destroyed about 2,000 properties, and did roughly $210 million in harm.

Dike breaches additionally performed a significant function this time, with breaches in Abbotsford, B.C. contributing to the evacuation and flooding of the Sumas Prairie.

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Some Merritt flood evacuees allowed to return dwelling

Some Merritt flood evacuees allowed to return dwelling

Right this moment there are 600 kilometres of dikes within the Decrease Mainland alone, however they’re managed by a wide range of governments, farmers and different authorities or stakeholders, resulting in inconsistent upkeep.

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Some dikes are “orphaned,” which means they obtain no upkeep in any respect.

“There are numerous which might be substandard and we all know that they fail once they’re not maintained, and so they fail even when they’re maintained,” mentioned Lyle.

“Dikes aren’t a great answer for all flood mitigation issues.”

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Ebbwater Consulting has suggested the B.C. authorities to vary its flood administration “paradigm” and create a transparent and constant authority construction that spells out who’s chargeable for what.

Meaning a central data hub throughout the provincial authorities that collaborates with Ottawa and develops greatest practices throughout the province, and regional hubs that target particular watersheds and assist underserved communities, based on its 2021 report.

“In an effort to allow this huge change, we additionally want to vary how we govern the issue, to handle the truth that it’s a basic, depraved and systemic drawback,” Lyle defined.

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CP Rail reopens key line between Vancouver and Kamloops after excessive climate catastrophe

British Columbia’s strategy to flood administration is a mirrored image of the “Nineteen Fifties period of huge engineering,” mentioned Lyle, and there are actually “many different options” the province ought to take into account.

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These embody constructing extra flood-resilient properties with out drywall or carpeting, she mentioned, altering land-use patterns, and taking important infrastructure and weak folks out of potential paths of destruction.

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“It’s going to price billions of {dollars} to at the very least get us again to the useful state of being,” mentioned Lyle.

“It positively is an pressing factor that we have to be excited about when it comes to planning, however I don’t assume we ought to be performing straight away whereas we’re all emotional and depressing, as a result of we’re going to make poor decisions at this level.”

Three new atmospheric rivers are forecasted to hit the province between Wednesday evening and subsequent Tuesday, and Atmosphere Canada has warned they might worsen the present flooding circumstances.

© 2021 International Information, a division of Corus Leisure Inc.

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