|Thursday, June 03|
Communication Network Analysis for Flooding at the Watershed Scale
* Bridget McGlynn, Brock University, Canada
Julia Baird, Canada
Ryan Plummer , Canada
Climate change is forecasted to alter historic flooding patterns across Canada and shifts to more diversified flood risk management are gaining attention as they may promote resilience by increasing capacity to share knowledge and expertise. There is a particular need for improved collaborative decision making in flood risk management as success is influenced by citizen awareness and participation; however, there is a lack of empirical evidence on understanding how collaborative governance arrangements function in the context of flood risk management. This research investigates the communication network among diverse organizations for flood planning in the St. John River Basin. Social network data was collected through an electronic questionnaire in August and September 2020. A directed communication network was constructed from responding organizations (N=53). The communication network is characterized by a low density (density = 0.149) and a moderate centralization (degree centralization = 0.603) and reciprocity (arc reciprocity = 0.473). The diverse actors found in the core of the network suggest an active role of environmental non-governmental organizations in addition to provincial agencies and municipalities in the basin. More broadly, the research suggests that the provision of evidence-based governance suggestions to improve communication among organizations may enhance resilience generally, and specifically the adaptive capacity for improved flood planning.
Multi-stakeholder approaches to managing flood risk in Canada: examples from various Canadian jurisdictions
* Sheila Ball, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Canada
Alain Pietroniro, Canada
André Bouchard, Canada
Robin Bourke, Canada
Matthew Godsoe, Canada
Flood risk management often requires coordination and planning between numerous stakeholder groups at various levels of government. This includes, but is not limited to, local, regional, provincial/territorial, Indigenous, and national organizations, both at working and decision-making levels. In Canada, this responsibility lies primarily with the provinces and territories; however, disaster payments, in many cases, occur at the federal level, provided the scope of the flood meets specific criteria. In addition, recent changes to flood insurance availability in Canada have urged the development of more comprehensive flood maps across the country. Since the cancellation of the Flood Damage Reduction Program (FDRP) in the mid-1990s, there have been a series of approaches at the local level to deal with systematic flood mapping across Canada. Recent attempts through Public Safety Canada’s National Disaster Mitigation Program (NDMP) in implementing a cohesive national approach have been successful in advancing the state of flood mapping across the country. However, much effort is still required to consolidate these approaches across all levels of government. This study presents findings of detailed preliminary discussions with each of the provincial and territorial jurisdictions, providing examples where multi-stakeholder approaches address flood risk from a multi-disciplinary perspective. Preliminary results show that a Whole-of-Government Approach (WGA) leads to robust and sustainable decision-making. This is achieved through the incorporation of flood hazard and risk information aspects such as land use planning, early warning systems, infrastructure and/or emergency management services. Outcomes from the discussions with the provinces and territories and a roadmap for future knowledge exchange to share best practices are presented.
From the home to the watershed: reducing flood risk through action at different scales
* Joanna Eyquem, Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation, Canada
"During the past months, many of us have taken advantage of spending more time at home to think about home renovations. But how many people have thought about improving the resilience of their home, often their largest lifetime asset, to flood risk? Flooding in urban areas is Canada’s costliest and fastest-growing extreme-weather challenge. This includes flooding along our rivers and coastlines, as well as increasingly common intense rainfall, or “cloudburst’, events that can result in pluvial flooding. Incidents of pluvial flooding are less predictable and can frequently overwhelm drainage systems in urban areas, particularly when combined with river and coastal floodwaters. Flood risk management is often perceived as the responsibility of governments, when in fact we all have a role to play, both individually and through the organizations that we work for. This presentation will present practical actions to manage flood risk in Canada at different scales, including individual homes, commercial real-estate, municipalities, river basins and nationally across Canada. At each scale, the role and influence of key organizations in accelerating action on the ground to reduce risk will be discussed, together with progress and challenges. For example, at the home scale, the good news is that practical advice on actions to reduce damage caused by basement flooding is freely available. The Home Flood Protection Program, developed by the Intact Centre for Climate Adaptation, contains low cost, practical actions that residents can undertake themselves to reduce risk. An online application is also freely available to guide homeowners in checking what actions would help at their home. The key challenge now is to communicate and accelerate uptake of these actions by residents across the country – a challenge that various organizations, including the private sector are already helping overcome (for example insurance brokers, mortgage brokers and home inspectors). At the watershed scale, nature-based solutions and the role they can play in “Natural Flood Management” and achieving multiple co-benefits, are increasingly discussed but currently receive limited funding. Movement towards flood risk management at the basin scale, recognition of the value of ecosystem services and increased interest in investing in natural capital in the context of Sustainable Finance, are key promising trends to support mainstreaming nature-based solutions. Opportunities for increased collaboration between the public and private sector will be identified at different scales and are likely to be important in view of the additional pressures of the pandemic on public funds. (this presentation can be given in French if preferable) "
A generalized approach for synthetic streamflow generation under changing conditions
* Masoud Zaerpour, Concordia University, Canada
Ali Nazemi, Canada
Climate change and anthropogenic interventions have drastically perturbed streamflow characteristics globally. Such changes can cause vulnerabilities in water resource systems, developed around certain characteristics of streamflow regime. Understanding the potential extent of such vulnerabilities are generally through top-down approaches, advised based on a cascade use of climate and hydrological models, yet include large uncertainty. To address limitations in top-down approaches, the so-called bottom-up frameworks have been proposed. Regardless of methodological differences, these decision-centric frameworks are mainly developed based on an ensemble of synthetic streamflow series generated under current and changing conditions, to which the system response is assessed. Little attention, however, has been given on how perturbation of streamflow characteristics can be attained by statistical alteration of flow characteristics. Here, we present a generalized approach to synthesize a large ensemble of perturbed streamflow accommodating a new algorithm that can systematically alter various streamflow characteristics alone or simultaneously. The proposed algorithm is based on changing the parameters of two orthogonal probability distributions fitted to the expected streamflow and the variability around that. We demonstrate the practical utility of the new perturbation algorithm in single- and multi-site settings using a number of natural and regulated streams across Canada.
Assessment of factors influencing water damage and basement flooding in Canada
* Julia Leith, University of Guelph, Canada
Andrew Binns, Canada
Bahram Gharabaghi, Canada
Ed McBean, Canada
Dan Sandink, Canada
"Floods are the most frequently occurring natural hazard in Canada and have adverse impacts on communities nationwide. In 2019, the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) reported approximately $1.32 billion in catastrophic losses. The reported catastrophes consisted almost entirely of floods or severe weather events with insured losses primarily associated with damages due to basement flooding. With the increasing concern of climate change and anticipated increases in flood intensity and frequency, these losses are expected to continue to intensify in the coming years. Gaining further insight into the communities and regions that are most at risk based on historical flood trends could be extremely valuable to home owners, insurance companies and municipalities. The goal of the current research is to investigate the trends of Canadian floods over the past thirty years to characterize the evolving nature of flooding events affecting Canadians and assess the influence of extreme weather events, urbanization and adoption of private-side flood mitigation technologies or approaches on insured losses. Four Canadian cities with unique geographic locations and land-use characteristics were chosen as case studies, including: the Cowichan Valley Regional District, British Columbia; Winnipeg, Manitoba, Windsor, Ontario; and Fredericton, New Brunswick. For these case study locations data associated with flood events, insured losses and changes in land-use over the thirty-year period will be assembled and analyzed. Information on flood mitigation funding and subsidy programs provided in each of the four cities will be used to estimate the degree of adoption of private-side flood mitigation technologies or approaches. The factors being considered such as rainfall amounts, land development, mitigation strategies, and insured losses were retrieved from a combination of sources including: the IBC, the Canadian Disaster Database, news reports and municipal documents. The results of this research will help to create a greater understanding of the relationship between flooding and pertinent influencing factors and will demonstrate the importance of adoption of flood mitigation approaches to reduce water damage and insured losses for Canadians. "