Flash flooding and the resulting water damage has become a problem in Canada, and it’s a result of both the land’s natural geography and also climate change. Canada’s total land mass is actually 60,000 square kilometers larger than the United States, mainly because of a much larger mass of water. With lakes, rivers, and everything else included, Canada has over 891,000 square kilometers of water. That’s more than 100,000 kilometers more than the United States. That means that more than 8% of the country is water, and it also gives Canada the most natural water in the world. In addition, its coastline is more than 200,000 kilometers, which leaves it exposed to nature’s force.
Picture of Canada’s Fresh Water Supply
In terms of climate, the temperature from relatively moderate to arctic depending on how far north one travels. Due to that, the majority of Canadians live closer to US than the Northern region. The present environmental problems are numerous, but all seem to result in air pollution. The air pollution is creating acid rain, which reeks havoc on all bodies of fresh water (including the ocean), trees, plants, and farm-able land.
There are 28 major floods on record for Canada that were classified as natural disasters. There estimated costs in terms of damage and repair are millions of Canadian Dollars (CAD). In 2013, the province of Alberta experienced a very large flash flood that led to the evacuation of more than 99,000 people. City leadership in Calgary announced the warnings and evacuation protocol in a more progressive manner – over Facebook and Twitter – in addition to the more common media outlets like TV and radio. Water levels began to rise rapidly after torrential rainfall in the region, which caused heavy flooding as rivers and streams overflowed. The excess water raged through the city destroying causing millions of dollars in water damage and property damage. In addition to ruined housing, roads and highways had to be closed, and electrical systems throughout the region were hit hard as well, thereby causing backups in repair jobs. In the past ten years, the dollar figures of damage from water disasters have increased dramatically, and there’s a big difference between how Canada and the US handle it, especially in terms of residential housing. In the United States, homeowners insurance does not cover natural disasters, but US residents can purchase flood insurance (in addition), to protect themselves should something occur that’s out of their control. Companies are then able to work quickly through the insurance company to take care of the water damage restoration and bring everything back to normal. Canada is a different story. Canada uses tax money to pay for water damage caused by flooding because insurance companies will not do so. Because of the smaller population, private companies are unwilling to assume the risks involved in offering flood insurance. As a result, many times, a clause may be written into the homeowner policy.
In an effort to reduce the government’s spending on disaster related repairs, Canadian officials have implemented a number of strategies:
- Identify land areas that would be subject to the most damage if a flood incident were to occur.
- Push for people to live in other areas
- Push for real estate brokers to focus sales on areas designated as more flood safe
- Create local agencies focused on preparation for natural disasters
- Create local agencies focused on engineering and the creation of new methods of housing and land protection, such as levees, large scale water pumps, and water management technologies
Sewage overflow seems to be the primary concern regarding water incidents, but there is no good solution in place yet that can account for this. For now, the local governments provide adequate funding to the local organizations that are preparing for the next weather event related to climate change.