2018-09-01 19:02:12 UTC
A climate change-driven, 100-year flood event in the Lower
Mainland could cost upwards of $32 billion
Climate change is a double challenge for communities in southwestern
B.C. that cluster at the mouth of the Fraser River and across the
broad delta of rich soils its waters have deposited over millennia.
On one hand, the river carries billions of litres of water south from
the mountain ranges of the interior to the coast, aiding everyone
from farmers to fishers. However, the benchmark floods of 1948 and
1894 remain influential in the imagination of those charged with
protecting the region from devastating water damage.
Sea levels have steadily increased since readings were first taken in
the 1870s. Provincial estimates indicate that B.C.s south coast could
see water levels rise a further 1.2 metres (more than seven feet) by
2100, potentially creating dramatic storm surges in coastal areas.
Provincial guidelines have many municipalities considering a
construction level of at least 4.5 metres to protect buildings against
Coastal farms, meanwhile, face a rising water table and the risk of
more saline soils as sea levels rise and sediment continues to
accumulate at the mouth of the Fraser River. Rising sea levels
combined with sedimentation and lower flows through the Fraser River
mean salt water extends farther up the Fraser River than ever before.
The situation is forcing coastal municipalities like Delta and Surrey
to rise to the occasion, drafting plans to protect homes and
businesses from the waters.
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