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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.   


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