Protecting nature is Canada's best defence against flooding
Floods have become one of the most visible signs of the effects of climate change in cities, towns and rural areas throughout Canada. Spring floods aren't unusual, but the intensity and frequency of recent rains are breaking records. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the leading international body for climate change assessment, anticipates a significant increase in heavy precipitation events and flooding in many parts of the world, including Canada. When temperatures rise, the atmosphere carries more moisture so when it rains, it dumps. The Insurance Bureau of Canada found one in five Canadians faces some level of flood risk, and 1.8 million households are at very high risk.
Urban concrete and asphalt surfaces prevent water from infiltrating into the ground and increase storm-water runoff. Rain gardens, bioswales and permeable pavements better manage flooding by reducing runoff and protecting flood plains and foreshore areas. Nature absorbs rainfall and prevents excess water from overwhelming pipe networks, backing up sewers and pooling in streets and basements. Restored river channels, parkways and beaches reduce costs, add valued amenities, increase access to nature and improve community health.
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