Improving resilience to flooding

- Ottawa, Ontario

Floods can occur due to local intense rainstorms, rapid melting of snow, ice jams on rivers, high tides, storm surges, wave overtopping of coastal defences and rising sea levels. These floods can be categorized as riverine floods, flash floods and coastal floods. Together, they represent a major cause of economic losses to the neighboring communities and can also lead to a high risk to the safety of Canadians. To address this important national challenge, a number of projects to improve the flooding resilience of Canada's communities were identified as part of the National Research Council's (NRC) Climate-Resilient Buildings and Core Public Infrastructure (CRBCPI) initiative and are now underway.

In July 2017, the NRC held a workshop that brought together over 70 Canadian stakeholders and international experts to discuss how to improve the resilience of buildings to flooding and account for the anticipated effects of climate change. Building on the workshop's momentum, the NRC put together a technical working group and advisory board to guide the development of guidelines and proposed code provisions. The working group and advisory board identified priority activities to address flood design criteria at a national level including developing requirements for the design of buildings to resist or adapt to flood-related loads, developing requirements for the design of building materials and systems to resist damage from flooding, and developing data sets needed to assess flash flooding in urban and fast-responding areas. This work is also supported by research in key areas such as performance based design, and ice jamming.

This past year, the NRC funded the development of a new CSA Group guideline on basement flooding protection to reduce the risk of flooding and mitigate the impacts of flooding on basements due to severe weather events. The guideline, CSA Z800, is now complete. Additionally the NRC in partnership with the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) and the University of Waterloo's Intact Centre undertook the development of a guideline, called 'Weather the Storm', for improving the flood resilience of existing communities.

These projects are part of NRC's Climate Resilient Buildings and Core Public Infrastructure Initiative, made possible by funding from Infrastructure Canada, as part of the Pan Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change.

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Contact us

Christopher Pezoulas, Director, Business Development
Telephone: 613-993-9502