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Upcoming Workshop in Calgary by Waterlution

Waterlution presents “Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for the Bluer Good: Moving Towards a Sustainable Economy”. An immersive workshop on water metrics and innovation”, a two-and-a-half day on-location workshop for 50 interested individuals.

When: November 22 – 24
Where: Outside of Bragg Creek, Alberta
Who: Individuals working or interested in corporate responsibility or water/natural resources.
Workshop is open to all living in Canada.
Workshop Host: Karen Kun – Director and Co founder of Waterlution

You have the passion for moving water issues ahead. You understand the need to make the case for sustainable water practices and corporate social responsibility (CSR). Now, it’s time for you to acquire the rigorous tools to make a lasting impact. At this one-of-a-kind immersive workshop, learn how to build and lead hard-boiled and effective CSR water-based initiatives. What are the lessons from some of North America’s most successful water innovations? What measurements and metrics have been developed to move the corporate world to action? How are sustainable business practices being embedded to stand the test of time? Learn from North America’s brightest thinkers and build your network with like-minded leaders, the very people who can help move your emerging career to another level.

The program will focus specifically on industry, as it is Canada’s biggest water user. There is great potential for increased water efficiency across industries and Canada needs decision-makers with the knowledge and motivation to achieve this. Individual stakeholders, institutional investors, and consumers are increasingly looking to environmental management and resource use as an indicator of sector viability. Waterlution is pleased to bring together the latest research and metrics with water and business leaders for this workshop. Join us to develop the skills of young Canadian leaders in water, business and related fields about what Canada’s corporations are doing, and how they can continue to improve their practices into the future.

Register HERE

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Hurricane Sandy Expected to Cost Billions

As the storm clears and residents of the East coast begin the long clean-up process, estimates of the damage from hurricane Sandy are coming to light.

The insured losses alone could reach anywhere from $7-$15 billion, according AIR Worldwide. IHS Global Insight estimates overall damage costs at $20 billion and business losses range from $10 to $30 billion.

While these predictions are significantly lower than the losses that resulted from hurricane Katrina (which totaled $135 billion), they’re indicative of the type of costs cities will incur from extreme weather events caused by climate change. The National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy issued a report this past May in which it predicted annual costs of climate change for Canada of about $5 billion a year.

The need for adaptation becomes all the more crucial as climate change plays out in the coming years. The federal government will spend $150 million over the next five years to evaluate the effects climate change will have on Canada.

ACT’s 2009 reports on Climate Change Adaptation and Extreme Weather outlines policy recommendations to address emergency management and infrastructure planning.

 

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New Report from Toronto and Region Conservation

Toronto and Region Conservation is pleased to announce the upcoming launch of a report entitled “Mainstreaming Climate Change Adaptation in Canadian Water Resource Management,” and an accompanying National Compendium of Water Adaptation Knowledge (on-line database at http://waterandclimate.ca).

The report has been prepared as collaboration between the Canadian Climate Forum (formerly CFCAS), the Canadian Water Resource Association, and Toronto and Region Conservation, with significant contributions by provincial, municipal and aboriginal governments, watershed agencies, academia, businesses and ENGOs from across Canada. Funding support for this work was provided by Natural Resource Canada’s Regional Adaptation Collaborative Program.

Both the report and compendium are direct outcomes of extensive research, and the engagement of 85 experts and practitioners the National Water Adaptation to Climate Change Forum held in Toronto in March, 2012.

Webinar Date and Time: November 20, 2012, 1:00 PM (EST)

Registration: Please register online.

About the Report and Compendium
The report explores how policies, projects and community actions have supported adaptation in water
resource management across Canada. Strategic directions for further supporting adaptation are also
presented. These findings are examined across a variety of water issues (e.g., flooding, drought), user groups (e.g., managers, technical , economic sectors), and management levels.

National Compendium of Water Adaptation Knowledge was assembled as an on-line, easily searchable database of projects and policies that demonstrate effective adaptation. The database is meant to highlight best-practices in adaptation and facilitates mainstreaming by providing managers with information on actual adaptation practices and projects.

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ACT Experts Featured in The Townsman

ACT Executive Director, Deborah Harford

ACT Executive Director Deborah Harford and Water Policy Adviser Bob Sandford were featured in an article in The Townsman after speaking at an event in East Kootenay. Their presentation offered advice to residents on adapting to climate change and managing water resources. The article, which appeared on October 30th, can be viewed as a PDF.

There is one correction to the post.  Deborah staid they would see “more precipitation falling as rain rather than snow on lower elevations.”

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Sandy Eyewitness Account: A New Jersey Resident Reports From Inside the Superstorm

New Jersey resident Eva Frankenberger has been sending messages relating her experience as Superstorm Sandy approached, hit, and left a devastated region with, at this point, no sign of help from emergency services. Meanwhile people have no gas, power, food, or water other than whatever supplies they laid in.

Read Eva’s first-person account here starting at the bottom of the page. Updates will be added as they come in:

Thursday November 8th:

People, as we did, have also decided to stay in their cold and sometimes extremely damaged houses – even without windows!! – to protect from looting. I have never seen a police car here or somewhere else to drive around to protect us. This should be a must – to be able to go or to evacuate!

Commute is extremely difficult or not possible..restriction to 3 people in one car for bridges and tunnels if they are open, in some areas where trains still don’t drive transit companies are trying to replace some services with buses. This is huge and will take months to recover!

Snow storm was not so bad, cold, wind and new snow… Still no trains and buses because of the damages and fuel rationing in NJ. NYC and Long Island are fuel rationing, still many people don’t have power in these temperatures.

Tuesday November 6th:

THANK you ALL for your contribution and supporting words! Lets take nature and what is happening to it more seriously, pay more respect and protect it. As Bloomberg said, whether or not this is a result of global warming, don’t let us wake up 10 years later and say yes it was but we missed the opportunity to do something!!!

One week later… There was light!!

We had actually no hope for tonight anymore, since it was all dark when we came home, but we feel very lucky now! The creeping cold temperatures slowly but steadily disappear… :)

 

Monday November 5th:

Still no power, outside freezing temperatures, inside too.. And new hope for a storm… Hurray! New power outages!!

Room temperature: 10 C

Sunday November 4th:

Today is an even date.. So Its our turn today to line up for hours and get gas…

Power lines poles get planted and connected via a wire … A hope for power?

Alert over alert..assuming we have a cell charged..

 

Saturday November 3rd:

This is how our roads look like, extreme trees loss and power lines poles are down. The railway looks the same, a week after Sandy no trains no busses in our region…

Gasoline? Panic purchases! Yes!!

A rule requiring cars entering Manhattan on East River bridges to have at least three passengers as a way to reduce congestion

Friday November 2nd:

U know what the gas issue also causes? Donations and help cant be delivered since the truck bringing help might stuck bc no gas is available to drive back!!!

Here there is no emergency response.. When driving on Friday we have seen a small sign about a shelter. We have enough food and water , some fuel left, enough batteries..thanks Vancouver readiness guides!! NYC suffers so much bc people are not listening, they never believed something like that can happen.

Today was cold, sunny and brrr windy. Everybody got shocked to see and hear the wind. But it came down and was actually nothing. We have seen first crew repairing the wiring..

Natural gas generator is our next investment!!

Its cold, no water, some damages bigger and smaller BUT nothing like what happened at the shore! Colleague lost his home, a friend her house on an island and the island was broken up in 2 pieces.. So we are just freezing and tired, exhausted with the situation… Small things only :-) )…

NJ governor orders odd-even rationing of gas for some counties… Its cold.. In house 12 C degree…people r leaving their houses empty, other people know the houses are empty… We r not leaving.. But its cold, even for the dogs already …we r trying to consume what was in the fridge, freezer everything spoiled…

Thursday, November 1st:

Where is the help? Where are the power supplier crews to start to restore the non anymore existing grid? NO ONE here..

This area with a lot of old trees, old historical structures and uncounted horse farms: got hit very bad in terms of many old trees came down and not damaged but destroyed thr entire power line structure including smashed transformers. Trees, huge trees were piling up on roads and trapped people in their homes. To get help or clear up for emergencies or to get gas the private people with their private chain saws are cutting through the 2-3 foot diameter trunks on the road, helping each other to some roads passable. But as i said gas is not available so soon no one can continue…

Yesterday morning got emails from our employers: offices open report to work…yesterday in the evening: please try to work from home and do not report to the office since no gas is available..gas shortage is a huge problem!!! People starting to think whether to drive somewhere or not..

NYC issues: terrible! …excerpt from a newspaper…In Chelsea, Mary Wilson, 75, was buying water from a convenience store that was open but had no power. She said she had been without running water or electricity for three days, and lived on the 19th floor. She walked downstairs Thursday for the first time because she ran out of bottled water and felt she was going to faint. She said she met people on the stairs who helped her down…. Yes this is NYC, but also we here outside, we filled our tubs with water, three containers a 50 gallons ( apprx 200 each) of water plus 30 gallons of drinking water are wondering where do we get water when we run out of water..but we do not have to run 19!!! Floors down… I did 26 …which means 26 X 2 stairways..for an elderly woman… Impossible!!

Our dog walker wrote at this minute: …Just letting u know the gas line at Wawa in phillipsburg is only a 20 min wait right now every other place is hours …. NO OPEN gas stations, ppl waiting for gas for hours to fill cars and generators… Lucky wise Vancouver earth quake readiness taught us a lot…

The most deaths from fallen trees..and people underestimating nature, not following evacuations advisory..

Looting started, police increased their efforts, i am seeing cars with individuals they don’t fit in here and never seen before…

Mass of cell towers are now down.. Our mobile devices need even more energy to reconnect with towers still available..

Fortunately i am not in the area where the worst happened.. But the only connection we have is cell internet… The issue is not having power for our cells and no info where to go. but also cell towers not sending signal or failing to reconnect. Sometimes numbers can’t be reached. Emergency websites, facebook and website to get info what is happening are too heavy on cell traffic eating too much of our cell power. Bc our area not hit so bad like the shore not seeing anybody, No signs for drinking water, shelter anywhere to see, just closed roads, police blocking intersections and very bad hit roads with oil spillage from destroyed transformers. The danger here is: we got used to drive over all the power lines otherwise we could not get anywhere. Just a few gas stations are open, gas stations not receiving fuel deliveries, but extremely increased consumption on gas for generators.

Tuesday, October 30th:

For DR officials: build websites to inform people about the status without heavy content, high resolution pictures.. Light text without many links.. That makes the life of stranded easier and cells batteries live longer..

Tried to get to our friends to get charged cell phones…realized we are trapped and they are trapped behind huge walls of piled up fallen trees. Power poles, traffic lights are down and destroyed, power transformers blown up in explosions, all power wires on the ground, hanging in fallen trees, when you try to drive you have to try to drive around, underneath and not to touch, its Like a slow slalom between tree crowns, wires, trunks of the trees and then.. It does not go further.. A huge wall..this looks to me to 2-3 weeks without power…

All houses here and many in NYC and other cities need power for water. For drinking water, shower, flushing etc. Parts of NYC are without power so also there no water. So no shower whether cold or warm. As i mentioned before power is also needed for the sump pumps: sump pumps keeps the ground level of the water in the houses on a level that the basement us not flooded . No power to all flooding up you are flooding the basement with ground water. People are trying to get water out with buckets. Heating is not working, it works with natural gas but the initiation and the ventilator need power. So no heating. When temperatures are low your pipes will burst with remaining water in the pipes. Drinking water comes from the private wells that each of the properties needs to gave. Otherwise you cant build a house.

Please check the 8 millions.. Could be more or less..now no transit.. We all are communicating via mobile devices and those who has portable wifi ( mifi) can work as long as they gave enough power in the laptops. Companies have data centers in NYC and NJ all those data center work on generators only currently. Generators work with gasoline. Companies that have a nature disaster recovery plan are soon failing over their system from this region to their DR center somewhere else.. 1% battery…-also cell towers having extreme difficulties because running on generators…

Private wells need a pump that again needs power. No water. Therefore no shower, no toilettes. Boiler for hot water needs power: no hot water. Camping cooker or barbecue grills nay help to get something warm. All trains, buses in NJ, in NYC plus subway suspended their services because everywhere are just fallen trees and debris. Subway flooded, destroyed the electric infrastructure., Some subway stops are still flooded, So no public transport, no transit. The tunnel used by public transport to get to NYC ( there are just few bridges) were flooded so closed. I think i read there 8 millions who commute to NYC every day!! If they decided to take a car and go to NYC? Just chaos. I would say that 75% of those 8 millions are taking public transit (train and long distance buses like I do) to get to the city.

Its cold but it stopped raining: that is very important because houses are flooded not only from the ocean and rain( ground water) but rivers where the water is pushed back from the ocean up to the river beds bc of the high surge, the high winds. From the mountains and the hills the rain water is coming: both situation at the same time are bringing something like an inland tsunami. Bc of the extreme flooding but also many transformers blown up in an explosion (flying debris, got ripped off the poles) the grid had to be shut down. Yesterday driving here around abd actually not getting anywhere bc roads are closed due to fallen and piled up trees ( looks like a big wall of trees) and wires hanging over the road in 1 m height, so we are trapped. All shops were closed bc no power.

Three big trees knocked down, one old and nice big tree bended in the middle like a match, part of the roof – steeple- blown away.. Fence destroyed… Not happy.. But alive..all our thoughts go to them who have their homes flooded, destroyed by fire, injured and incurred damages…

6:55 am: Lost a piece of roof, raining through, a tree knocked down..fence damaged hoping the rain stops otherwise it starts to flood the basement. Our NYC and Queens friend have a bad situation. Flooded houses, 50 houses burned down national guard in town…terrible.. Thank you for asking!!!

Monday, October 29th:

6:00 pm: Just terrified! For the first time in their and my life the dogs are allowed on the sofa with me [and husband Horst]..mutual keeping us warm..

Lost power, just the sound of the hurricane with us

4:13 pm: Terrible!!! Extreme winds and gusts..hoping for not getting blown away with the house..

2:39 pm: Sandy has made land fall now in NJ..hoping…

11:56 am: Very scary here!!!

Working from home, having a cut over for an important project this week.. On internal chat with colleagues.. Many w/o power and flooded already. Here very windy, high speed gusts, NYC zone A flooded, highways shut down, tunnels bridges closed, subways shafts on the streets covered with plywood panels… One ship sank off coast of NJ already…Sandy is 350 miles away and has already such an impact…

Sunday, October 28th

24 h servicing New York subway now to shut down as Sandy nears

 

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New Report from EcoAdapt

EcoAdapt has just released a new synthesis report, titled The State of Climate Change Adaptation in the Great Lakes Region. This report is the result of a survey of freshwater resource managers, planners, and practitioners in the region who are tasked with the challenge of developing strategies to prepare for and respond to a changing climate.

This synthesis provides:

  • A summary of key regional climate change impacts;
  • Examples of over 100 adaptation initiatives from the region, focusing on activities in the natural and built environments as they relate to freshwater resources;
  • Fifty-seven case studies, detailing how adaptation is taking shape; and
  • An overview of challenges and opportunities for freshwater adaptation in the Great Lakes region.
  • Read the report and the case studies to find real world examples of how other people in similar disciplines or regions are incorporating climate change into their work!

To learn more about the State of Adaptation Program and to view the Great Lakes project page, visit their website.  Products generated from this project, including case studies, will be shared through another EcoAdapt program, the Climate Adaptation Knowledge Exchange (CAKE).

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Workshop: Extreme Weather and Infrastructure

Extreme Weather and Infrastructure: How resilient is your community?

Thursday, November 8th to Friday, November 9th
Castlegar & Distrit Recreation and Aquatic Centre
 

Brought to you by the Communities Adapting to Climate Change Initiative (of the Columbia Basin Trust), this technical workshop will help local governments understand approaches to building resilient public infrastructure in the face of climate change and extreme weather events.

Registration can be completed online HERE.

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Hottest September on Record Matched This Year

September 2012 and 2005 are now matched as the hottest Septembers on record. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the average temperature for September 2012 was 60.2 degrees Fahrenheit, 1.2 degrees above normal.  The third highest average temperature for September was in 2003.

It is thought that as summer lengthens due to climate change’s impact on seasonal patterns, September will warm more than other months.

The continued climb of temperatures is melting glaciers around the world, with implications for fresh water availability – a challenge that will impact hydro power generation, agriculture, and drinking water.

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PCIC News: UVic Centre Opens Portal to BC Weather Data

Detailed information on British Columbia weather—past and present—is now just a mouse click away, thanks to a new data portal launched today by the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium (PCIC) at the University of Victoria.

The PCIC Data Portal gives the public access to weather observations from more than 6,000 locations around the province, including records of temperature, precipitation, wind speed and humidity. The data dates from the present to as far back as 1872.

“We expect the information to be invaluable to researchers, engineers, industry and anyone with a keen interest in the climate of the province or its historical weather,” says Dr. Francis Zwiers, director of PCIC. “These observations will contribute to everyone’s understanding of climate in the province as it continues to evolve.”

The data set and portal is the result of a partnership among several BC government ministries, BC Hydro, RioTinto AlCan and PCIC.

“This web portal delivers on the premier’s commitment to be an open government. It’s also another great tool that will help us all gain a better understanding of how we can prepare for an increasingly variable and changing climate,” said Terry Lake, Minister of Environment.

The portal has widespread application. For example, municipal engineers can use the data to plan updates to storm drainage systems or manage drinking water supplies. Forest managers can use the data to assess forest fire risk. And weather buffs can look at the data to see how the weather has changed over the years where they live.

PCIC researchers plan to develop new high-resolution temperature and precipitation maps for BC and make them available on the portal.

The UVic-led Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS) contributed funding and consultation in support of the data-gathering efforts. PCIC computer programmers and scientists developed the data portal to house the disparate sources of data. Environment Canada supports PCIC’s role as a central repository for climate data in the province.

”This is a good-news story that illustrates what can be achieved when a group of like-minded partners work together to create open access to a data resource that is of broad public and scientific interest,” says Zwiers.

The portal can be accessed at HERE.

Hosted by UVic, PCIC is a regional climate service provider that aims to serve the public need for climate and climate-change science. PCIC’s research goals are to understand the present-day evolution of climate, describe the regional impacts of climate change, and study the hydrological impacts of climate change.

Visit the UVic Communications site for the full press release and media contacts.

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Job Posting: UGEC Postdoctoral Scholar

The Urbanization and Global Environmental Change Project is now seeking a postdoctoral scholar who will undertake research projects to advance UGEC science objectives.

The postdoctoral fellow will work directly under the supervision of Arizona State University faculty member and UGEC Scientific Steering Committee Member (SSC) member, Professor Christopher Boone, and work closely with the UGEC Project SSC and the Executive Officer to fulfill the goals and objectives of the project. The postdoc’s primary responsibilities will be to undertake original and synthesis research on the topic of urbanization and global environmental change. Specific topics for research may include, but will not be limited to: urban land change; urban vulnerability and resilience; urban mitigation and adaptation to climate change; urban material and energy use; urban climate; urban ecosystem services; public health and environmental justice. Secondary responsibilities will include assistance to the Executive Officer in aspects of the International Project Office’s operation, thereby also obtaining broader training and administrative experience.

Initial close date is November 30, 2012. Applications will continue to be accepted and reviewed until the position is filled. Please see the full job description in PDF.  It may also be downloaded from the UGEC website.

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PREPARING FOR CLIMATE CHANGE: An Implementation Guide for Local Governments in BC

The Adaptation Guide (PDF) is designed to assist elected officials and staff to plan and act in ways that will make their communities more resilient to the impacts of a changing climate. It is now posted on the Fraser Basin Council Retooling for Climate Change website under the Tools and Resources section.

Part 1 introduces climate change adaptation including climate change impacts in BC, how local governments are affected, the adaptation process, and building adaptive capacity and resilience.

Part 2 offers practical examples of climate change adaptation strategies in the context of land use planning, emergency management planning, long term financing and reporting, asset management, infrastructure, civic buildings policy, building regulation, watershed management, liquid waste management, air quality, biodiversity, conservation, community and economic development, legal liability and insurance.  Supplemental materials include three adaptation scenarios, checklists for local governments and links to other adaptation projects and resources.

The Guide was developed under the BC Regional Adaptation Collaborative and funded by Natural Resources Canada and the Fraser Basin Council with support from the BC Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development.

For further information contact Deborah Carlson, West Coast Environmental Law at dcarlson@wcel.org or 604-601-2513, or Cathy LeBlanc, Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development at Cathy.LeBlanc@gov.bc.ca or 250-387-4049.  Webinars are being planned and they will be announced through CivicInfo.

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Upcoming Event Hosted By Waterlution Vancouver Hub

The Waterlution Vancouver Hub is hosting an event as part of their season 2 Learning Lab.

Coastal Communities: Investigating King Tides and Sea Level Rise
Tuesday, November 6th
6:30 PM to 9:00 PM
Location TBD
 

For more information and registration, visit the event page HERE.

 

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Jakarta to Complete Giant Sea Wall in 2020

The city of Jakarta is constructing a giant sea wall, known as the Jakarta Coastal Defense Strategy (JCDS), to protect low-lying regions as sea levels rise and land subsides due to heavy extraction of groundwater from the delta soil.

A 2009 study by Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) climatologist Armi Susandi predicted that a quarter of Jakarta will be submerged by 2050 because of continually rising sea levels, which he said was a by-product of global warming.

The subsidence rate, which is also a response of delta soils to heavy construction, is estimated at between 10 and 20 centimeters per year; however, the ground level of some parts of North Jakarta already been reduced by 4.1 meters.

A new 1,500 ha city, and rapid transit lines, will be constructed along and within the wall, which will surround 10,000 ha in total, be 60 km long and extend 8 km out from the shore. The projected completion date of 2020 is now five years earlier than anticipated because the city has decided to skip the second phase of construction, which consisted of building dikes, pumps, and retention ponds. Since these features would stave off rising sea levels for only ten years, it was decided that the city could better use its resources by moving ahead to the third phase of construction.

The third phase consists of building the giant seawall along Jakarta Bay and includes retention ponds and pumps designed to remove 500 cubic meters of water per second.

According to the JCDS, approximately 40% of the land in Jakarta is below sea level and North Jakarta is expected to be below sea level within 10 years. The JCDS is currently completing a feasibility study for the Great Wall project with expert and financial support from the Dutch government, which has taken a similar approach to protect the Netherlands.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, which saw high tides, warm ocean water and 130 km/hr winds create a record nine meter-high storm surge, it will be crucial for the JCDS to ensure the sea wall is high enough to withstand the extraordinary conditions we may begin to see as climate change progresses.

ACT is part of the international Coastal Cities at Risk (CCaR) network, which seeks to explore solutions to climate change’s impacts on coastal megacities.

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Deborah Harford to Speak at Academia Sinica in Taipei

ACT Executive Director, Deborah Harford

ACT Executive Director Deborah Harford will be speaking at the Advanced Institute on Data for Coastal Cities at Risk in Taipei on Monday, October 22nd.  The conference, hosted by the Academia Sinica, will take place over 6 days and feature a series of speakers presenting on a range of adaptation issues specific to coastal cities.  Ms. Harford will be presenting on ACT’s Coastal Cities at Risk research project.

 

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CCaR and Social Vulnerability: What is it about and Why is it important?

According to a 2008 OECD report by Nicholls et al. (PDF) that ranks global cities in terms of exposure to risks of climate change, Vancouver is rated 15th for vulnerable assets, with USD $55 billion at risk; and 32nd for population at risk, with 320,000 people exposed.
Many municipalities in Metro Vancouver are both coastal and on a large-flow river. These urban areas are exposed to the combined climate-change risks of sea-level rise, storm surges with coastal flooding and riverine flooding. A 2001 study by Yin (PDF) states that a one-metre rise in sea level, which is projected for 2100, would inundate more than 4600 hectares of farmland and more than 15,000 hectares of industrial and residential urban areas. Approximately 220,000 people live near or below sea level in Vancouver suburbs Richmond and Delta. These areas are protected by 127 kilometres of dykes that were not built to accommodate the predicted sea-level rise.

The issues of hazards and vulnerability as well as the approaches to reduce climate change impacts are inherently interdisciplinary. A comprehensive approach is needed to reduce the risks posed to people and to protect key assets such as highways, sewer systems, shipping and ferry terminals. Vulnerability and impacts depend on not only physical hazards but on human factors such as socio-economic status and health.

The Coastal Cities at Risk (CCaR) program is supporting strategies that reduce risks to socially and economically vulnerable populations. To this end, CCaR has a team of researchers dedicated to identifying people who may need more help when it comes to preparing for, coping with and recovering from a major flood event. This social vulnerability (SoVI) research team is working to combine traditional approaches to risk reduction with socio-economic vulnerability analysis to enhance locally-tailored planning, disaster prevention, emergency response and post-disaster recovery.

Traditionally, natural hazard risk and vulnerability reduction strategies focus on biophysical factors. The starting point is to determine the physical characteristics of hazards, such as the parameters of a floodplain and how many buildings and people will be affected. The SoVI team is shifting the focus to first look at socio-economic factors that determine the ability to cope with stress or change. For instance, in the event of a flood, do individuals have access to a vehicle to evacuate? The SoVI team is using a socio-economic lens to assess vulnerability by identifying neighbourhoods with characteristics that indicate vulnerability such as significant numbers of low income households, single parent families, seniors and dependence on public transit.

This innovative approach uses Geographical Information System technology to map these indicators. Since data from Statistics Canada is not always representative of what is actually happening on the ground, the SoVI researchers are collaborating with municipal planners and making adjustments to the data as needed.
Once social vulnerability factors are mapped, the next step is to overlay physical hazards, such as the new floodplain according to climate change projections. The mapping will identify ‘hot spots’ – areas where people with limited socio-economic adaptive capacity are vulnerable to flooding. These areas can then be further analyzed to determine who lives there and how their needs can be incorporated into planning.

By ACT Coastal Impacts RA Yaheli Klein, Graduate Student, SCARP, UBC

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Deborah Harford to Speak at Upcoming Events in Cranbrook and Kimberley

ACT Executive Director, Deborah Harford

ACT Executive Director Deborah Harford will be speaking with Bob Sandford, ACT Water policy advisor and EPCOR Chair of the Canadian Partnership Initiative for the United Nations “Water for LIfe” Decade, at several upcoming events in Cranbrook and Kimberley.

Storm Warning: Assuring Water and Climate Security in a Changing West

Wednesday October 24th
McKim Auditorium in Kimberley
6:30pm: book signing and refreshments
7:30pm: lecture
Entry is by donation
 
Thursday October 25th
College of the Rockies, Room 250 Kootenay Centre Lecture Theatre
1:00pm – 2:30pm
Event is open to the public
 
Friday October 26th
Selkirk School
9:00am – 10:00am
 

These events have been organized by Citizens for a Livable Cranbrook with sponsorship from Mainstreams, College of the Rockies, and Wildsight.

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