BC Rain 20211116

Going with the Flow

When an atmospheric river tore through B.C. in the fall of 2021, it illuminated a glaring problem — infrastructure like dikes and highways can’t always handle major flooding caused by climate change. The cost of maintaining the status quo also became clear: as rain pounded down on the southwest corner of the province, a state of emergency was declared, lives were lost, roads were destroyed and thousands of people and animals were displaced.

As the planet continues to warm, atmospheric rivers will become more common. Flooding alone is expected to cost the Canadian economy $30 billion between now and 2050.

First Nations and scientists are saying we need to take our lead from nature so that we’re better prepared for the next major storm. But how can we work with nature to respond to the risks, rather than against it? And, to what extent are these solutions being considered as B.C. works to put together the pieces after a disaster?

The Narwhal is searching for answers through this five-part series.

Going with the Flow is made possible with support from the Real Estate Foundation of BC, which administers the Healthy Watersheds Initiative, and the BC Freshwater Legacy Initiative, a project of the MakeWay Foundation. As per The Narwhal’s editorial independence policy, no foundation or outside organization has editorial input into our stories.

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