Friday, May 16, 2008

Canadian government warned to take action on water, sewage

Vancouver Sun: Canada needs a national action plan to ensure water and sewage treatment systems function in the event of severe weather events prompted by climate change, Insurance Bureau of Canada president and CEO Mark Yakabuski said Thursday. "It is time for governments in this country to take adapting to climate change seriously," Yakabuski said in an address to the Vancouver Board of Trade.

"The future for ourselves and for several generations to come will be one characterized by dramatic climate change where precipitation is more severe and more frequent than ever in our memory," Yakabuski said. "None of our communities unfortunately has been built on the knowledge of this reality. The problem is that all of our critical infrastructure in this country -- be it transportation networks, public buildings and our water and sewage systems -- have been built according to weather pattern assumptions that are now totally obsolete."

Those comments have resonance in Metro Vancouver, where fights broke out in some retail stores in November 2006 as consumers tussled over bottled water after a severe rainstorm overwhelmed some treatment plants and made drinking water too turbid to pass Canadian drinking water quality guidelines. A few months later, the Fraser River in 2007 reached near disastrous flood levels that almost inundated sewage treatment plants along the river.

"In every part of Canada there is a vulnerability that must be addressed with real urgency, that is, the rebuilding and increased maintenance of our water and sewage networks. We need to come up with an inventory, for example, of what climate change and more severe precipitation means for the Fraser River Basin here in British Columbia," Yakabuski said….

Photo of the Interstate Bridge looking towards Vancouver from the 1918 Final Report on its construction, Wikimedia Commons

No comments: