Building Watershed Resilience
With our partners, we strive to build flood resiliency in communities most vulnerable to flooding in the Credit River Watershed. Flood resiliency reflects the (increasing) capacity of our natural areas and built infrastructure to withstand large rain events that can lead to flooding.
We use a holistic watershed approach to track and manage water across the landscape. This approach takes into account the connection between land and water.
Our work has become more urgent as a result of climate change.
Flooding can occur due to different weather events in different seasons:
- Ice Jams: Warming temperatures, melting snowpack, and a moderate amount of rainfall can cause river ice to break up in the winter and spring. When these ice pieces are carried downstream and become stuck, an ice jam occurs, blocking the flow of river water and potentially causing riverine flooding upstream.
- Thunderstorms: Thunderstorms often occur between May and October. They are challenging to predict because they can come on with little warning. Thundestorms can be very intense for a very short period of time in a localized area causing flooding of river banks, roads, properties and sewer backup in basements.
- Hurricanes: Hurricanes are intense storms that form over the warm ocean water of the tropics. They arrive in Ontario with more advance warning, since they come from the south and move with a timescale of hours to days. They occur in the summer and fall and impact a larger area than thunderstorms.
Our homes can become flooded as a result of:
- Riverine flooding: Rivers overflow their banks and cause surface flooding. This can be caused by heavy rains, spring snowmelt and ice jams.
- Urban overland flooding: Water collects as a result of rapid precipitation. Infrastructure (like storm sewers) fails to divert the excess water to appropriate reservoirs.
- Sanitary sewer backup: Water and sewage escape usual containment.
- Groundwater flooding: Water table rises causing surface flooding, usually after heavy rainfall.
- Shoreline flooding: Lake Ontario overflows its shoreline as a result of high-water levels and wind.
Flooding can pose the following threats to our communities:
- Threats to our drinking water
- Social vulnerability
- Economic impacts
- Public health crisis
- Land erosion
Sharing Responsibility – The Peel Climate Change Partnership
Stormwater management is a shared responsibility. We work with upper and lower municipalities in our area through the Peel Climate Change Partnership (PCCP). The Partnership has identified flood resiliency a priority to reduce community flood risk in light of climate change. Flood resiliency supports community health and wellbeing. It reduces the risks and costs of flooding in our communities.
Credit Valley Conservaiton is leading the development of the Flood Resiliency Strategy.
The Strategy includes the following goals:
- Prioritizing high risk areas using mapping tools
- Building capacity and resiliency through prioritized in the ground action
- Using planning tools like green development standards to reduce flood risks in flood-prone areas
- Enhancing emergency preparedness and early emergency warning systems
- Enhancing our understanding of the direct/indirect costs and risks associated with flooding through monitoring and risk management
Flood resiliency iniatives by the Peel Climate Change Partnership efforts include:
- Protecting and enhancing natural areas to increase their capacity to absorb rain and snowmelt
- Complete flood risk mapping to aid our organization, municipalities and landowners in understanding and responding to riverine flood risk.
- Building greener in new development by considering climate change and encouraging green development standards
- Assessing plans for new land developments
- Upgrade levels of stormwater management in older urban neighbourhoods
- Evaluating the performance of our environmental restoration and low impact development projects. This helps us understand if we meet project goals, and to inform future projects.
Spotlight on Action
Risk and Return on Investment Tool
We developed a new tool that helps us understand where the risks of flooding and erosion are greatest. The tool helps target our actions by:
- Quantifying potential direct and indirect damages in dollars from flooding and erosion under different climate scenarios.
- Compare mitigation solutions (i.e., natural assets, low impact development, grey infrastructure)
- Performs financial assessments for each mitigation option to help make cost-effective decisions and reduce risk.
Learn how to use the tool, watch our instructional video .
Riverine Flood Risk Mapping
Climate scientists predict more extreme rainfall events in the future. We model these future climate scenarios to understand how our creeks and rivers will respond and identify measures to reduce future flood risks.
Flooding Alerts – Alertable App
Thunderstorms and ice jams can come with little warning. To stay informed you can receive real-time flood alerts directly on your mobile device using the Alertable app.
Our Areas of Work that Support Flood Resiliency
We monitor and issue notices to municipal responders and the public about flooding.
We have developed a Natural Heritage System Strategy to guide our work in the Credit River Watershed.
We restore and enhance nature on our conservation lands and install low impact development in our communities.
We consider the entire ecosystem in making recommendations about flood resiliency.
Flood Resiliency News
The Risk and Return Investment Tool
We developed a new tool that helps us understand where the risks of flooding and erosion are greatest. Compare the effectiveness of different stormwater management approaches to maximize the effectiveness of stormwater management planning.