The Fraser Basin Council warned of widespread devastation in the Lower Mainland in case of major flooding by the Fraser River or in coastal areas.
The FBC said that either type of flood in the next 85 years could lead to losses from $20 billion to $30 billion. It could possibly be the costliest natural disaster that could hit Canada.
Based on a worst-case scenario where all of the region’s dikes failed, the damage could affect property, infrastructure, agriculture, and shipping.
Assessments by the Provincial Inspector of Dikes for the initial phase of coming up with a Lower Mainland Flood Management Strategy showed that 71% of dikes are vulnerable to failure, while only 4% of dike segments meet provincial dike crest height standards.
“There’s a pressing need for climate change adaptation in how we plan communities, and the diking system is no exception,” said council chairperson Colin Hansen in a press release. “We have to approach flood protection to address the new reality.”
The development of flood management plan is entering phase two, which takes at least two years. The BC government will pour $1 million in funding towards phase two.
“We now have a crisper picture of the evolving flood risk faced by the Lower Mainland and the chilling economic cost of inaction,” said Hansen. “It’s time to kick into high gear, have all partners determine the best flood protection for the region, and roll out an action plan.”
Devastating coastal flooding expected this century; not covered
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