Climate change means bigger rainstorms and bigger floods. Preparing for floods will be a major challenge for future Councils.
The City has commissioned engineering reports on the needed dams and weirs, and planned for them in its capital works plan. But the work has been slow. Members of the Pippy Park Commission have objected to the aesthetics and environmental implications of the plans. They have also observed that, unlike natural watersheds, which continue to mitigate even massive floods, dams depend on an accurate forecast of the amount of water they must contain. Climate change calls any forecast into question.
Wetland management is more than an engineering problem. The engineering perspective is an important one, but aesthetics and environmental considerations should be considered up front, and so should the advantages of a healthy watershed over a concrete dam. Otherwise these issues will come up later and cause delays. Let’s get it right the first time!
[See also: Wetlands and Watersheds]