Monday, January 16, 2012

Saskatoon curious about effects of climate change on water system

Jeremy Warren in the Star Phoenix (Saskatoon): The City of Saskatoon wants to work with the University of Saskatchewan on a research project that will study how the city's storm water and sewer systems are affected by climate change trends.

The two-year project could start this month and will study the city's "intensity-duration-frequency curves" - the main tool used in storm water management system designs - in the wake of unprecedented rainfall during the past decade. Saskatoon has had four of its wettest years on record since 2005, according to the city.

A city report, which is a response to an inquiry made by Coun. Mairin Loewen, recommends approval for the $106,000 U of S study and goes before city council tonight. The study will complement the city's greenhouse gas emissions reduction plan, Loewen said in an interview. Other cities have developed climate change plans and Loewen suggested the city look to Toronto's Ahead of the Storm: Preparing Toronto for Climate Change report as a guide for its own plans.

"What we're seeing is the rainfall events happening more frequently, and what I want to see come out of this is an assessment of how appropriate our systems are for those changing patterns in our climate," Loewen said. "What we've seen in the last decade is that these rain events may not be that rare anymore. Perhaps the change is just a blip, and perhaps not. It's a good step forward to work with the university to identify possible risks."

..."A Climate Adaptation Plan ensures the hard and soft infrastructure of the community can respond to climate change effects," the report said. Assessments of infrastructure and climate modelling can help cities better prepare for adverse weather, the report added...

A brush fire in Saskatoon, shot by SriMesh, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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