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Threatened Infrastructure: Building Resilience
Posted: July 15, 2015
Emergency Measures Officer, Dennis Wiwcharyk attended a 1-day workshop on May 7, 2015 titled "Threatened Infrastructure - Our Changing Water Cycle and Its Consequences".
Here are a few highlights from the conference:
A one day workshop highlighted by speakers detailing the
immediate need to address climate change. Speakers throughout the day focused
on climate change as it has become one of the largest threats to weather
stability. These changing weather patterns have caused havoc throughout the
world triggering rain storms, tornadoes, droughts, snow storms etc. never
experienced before. Speakers noted that due to the changing weather patterns
relying on history for forecasting and emergency preparation has become
unusable. This unstable climate has become a growing threat to public safety
and property damage. This growing threat should serve as a call for
municipalities to begin concentrating on reviewing building codes and building
construction to help address climate change.
Speaker Bob Sanford highlighted the need to reduce
temperature, a leading cause of climate change. Mr. Sanford stated with each
degree in rise of temperature we see a 7% increase in water vapor; resulting
in an increase of storm intensity, unprecedented rain falls causing flood
conditions never recorded in history. Mr. Sanford detailed how climate change
will cause temperatures to rise between 5 to 8 degrees Celsius by 2050. Winnipeg
will experience 26.8% wetter winters and 12.7% drier summers. These statistics
alone should cause municipalities to do vulnerability assessments immediately.
Shifts in climate will have a direct impact on critical infrastructure,
municipal property, and private property along with the increased threat to
public safety. Municipalities were encouraged to have a dedicated emergency
operations center. This would help to mitigate an incident by being fully
operational immediately. With early mitigation efforts in place, municipalities
may suffer less damage and provide for earlier municipal recovery.
Speakers spoke of the need to create policies that will
assist in the reduction of climate change and the need to build
resilience. Municipalities were encouraged to consider that there is a cost to
the loss of each asset if action is not immediately taken to reduce climate
change. By strengthening the resilience of our built and natural
environments, we stabilize the foundations of our economy, our safety and our
quality of life in the face of an unpredictable future.