Tuesday, May 16, 2017
So, Are We Just Going to Take This On the Chin?
From Ontario to Quebec and all the way back to British Columbia's Okanagan Valley we've been experiencing severe flood events.
A new study published in the journal Nature concludes that, for every degree fahrenheit the planet warms, these floods will worsen in severity by upwards of 15 per cent. Basic physics. Warmer air holds more water vapour that creates more rainfall deluges. At the same time our now wonky jet stream can park these monsoon rains over one area for days on end.
Canadians got a taste of this with the Toronto and Calgary "once in a century" floods of 2013. That should have ended any doubts that our 20th century infrastructure was up to the demands of our 21st century climate.
When "once in a century" storm events start to come along every decade we've got a problem. Those floods cause a lot of damage - to homes and to infrastructure. If you suddenly find your dream home now sits in a 21st century floodplain it may become your nightmare home.
There's a small neighbourhood in my little town of dream homes built where the Englishman river meets the Pacific. There are times when an early mountain snow melt combines with sea level rise and "king tides" that overwhelm those homeowners. Severe flooding becomes an annual or bi-annual event.
There's no insurance for that sort of loss. You're on your own. You could sell and head to higher ground - if you could find someone who wants to buy. Good luck with that. The municipality won't issue building permits for the area any longer. You can't even get a permit to put up a garden shed. You are S.O.L.
So, what are we going to do about it? Federal and provincial disaster relief only works for the rarest of disasters. Governments can't afford to make good such losses on a regular, if periodic, basis.
So what's the plan? I don't have a clue. The only thing quieter than a flooded basement is the silence we're getting from our political caste.