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Collaborative, Risk-based Approach to Flood Management of Critical Value

December 2, 2019

Special advisor on flooding affirms the critical value conservation authorities (CAs). In particular, they contribute to flood risk management responsibilities shared among municipalities, emergency management and the provincial government.

Flooding Advisor reports

Doug McNeil, Special Advisor on Flooding to the Ontario Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, conducted an independent review of flood management and flood events in 2019. The report “recommends the province ‘consult with the conservation authorities on their application of natural hazards-based approach and risk-based approach to managing flooding.’ ”

“Natural Resources Minister John Yakabuski will be reviewing (all 66) recommendations. (He) won’t commit right now to more funding, but he says he believes the province will be asking the federal government to contribute,” reports The Star.

Provincial support

“(Conservation Ontario is) very pleased the advisor appreciates the collaborative approach. However, maintaining and making improvements in Ontario’s flood management programs requires resources that include appropriate policy and program support,” said Ms. Kim Gavine, General Manager of Conservation Ontario, which represents all 36 local watershed districts.

“For example, the 50 percent reduction to provincial transfer payments for the natural hazards program affected all CAs. It erodes the ability to effectively address issues raised by the Flood Advisor.” In April, 2019, the Province cut funding by about 50 percent for natural hazards and flood forecasting and warning work by conservation authorities. Although the province provides a “minority of the funding” CAs receive, the cut is counter-productive.

A variety of watershed management programs in partnership with all levels of government source the remainder of funding. Cooperative programs help to reduce or prevent costly and devastating damages of flooding, protect water resources, reduce pollution from reaching the Great Lakes, and support healthy watersheds, according to Conservation Ontario.

In August, 2019, additional revisions (i.e. further reduced funding) to the Conservation Authority Act were vaguely proposed by the Ford government. If passed, the changes would “negatively impact, water, soil, and the health of the local watershed” according to CA professionals including scientists.

KISTERS technology powers the collaborative flood risk hydromet monitoring performed by many conservation authorities across Ontario, Canada. Discover how a data sharing hub enhances each authority’s flood warning abilities while achieving watershed-scale stormwater management. In addition Conservation Ontario uses KISTERS web solutions to share information across its membership, including authorities who don’t directly partner with us.