Improving Infrastructure to Deal with Global Climate Change

With flooding now the leading cause of property damage in Canada, some local officials are left wondering what they can do to combat the increased rainfall that a changing global climate brings to their communities. And while it might seem simple to improve upon aging systems already in place, it is more than just a matter of throwing money at the problem, especially when funds are in such short supply. Some options do remain though, according to www.theglobeandmail.com.

Some obvious solutions include improved sewage and water drain-off systems, including building areas where rainwater can absorb into the local water table, as opposed to adding to already overburdened drainage. Some coastal governments have restricted development in coastal areas or those prone to flooding. Others have resorted to using risk assessment software to identify weak areas in a city’s infrastructure and services.

The cost of improvements has been keeping many areas from upgrading to more robust systems. Cities and municipalities are needing to use the funds available to them, often too little to bolster already taxed systems. So, what can be done to combat increased rainfall in an age of slimmer budgets?

A more specific solution includes the Municipal Risk Assessment Tool (MRAT) developed by the Insurance Bureau of Canada. The MRAT allows officials to look at the age and design of sewer and water systems. The tool also looks at how the systems are run, maintained, and how such factors as elevation and slope affect systems. This, in turn, allows money to be focused where the most good can be done. Instead of fixing the whole infrastructure, officials can fix those parts of it that can do the most good.

Other options include so-called green infrastructure, which allows rainwater to be absorbed into the local water table using the ground itself, as well as vegetation. This can help alleviate some of the burden on storm sewers already filled to their breaking point. As cities move forward into the new age of weather pattern changes and fiscal responsibility, they will have to find newer and less costly ways to deal with global climate changes such as increased rainfall.

 

For more information about how weather pattern changes are affecting local infrastructures, visit: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/vancouver-ramps-up-extreme-weather-preparations-following-alberta-floods/article13207157/