What to do with wa­ter

Groups look at cli­mate change, how to adapt to new storm wa­ter runoff re­al­i­ties


Res­i­dents of south­west Nova Sco­tia can learn how to man­age wa­ter in a chang­ing cli­mate thanks to a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween the Clean An­napo­lis River Project and the Bluenose Coastal Ac­tion Foun­da­tion.

The groups are work­ing to­gether on a big project to ad­dress cli­mate change im­pacts and hope to pro­vide sup­port to com­mu­nity mem­bers and lo­cal gov­ern­ments to help im­prove the man­age­ment of storm wa­ter and re­duce the nega­tive en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pacts of storm wa­ter runoff.

“It is an­tic­i­pated that cli­mate change im­pacts for south­west Nova Sco­tia will in­clude increased fre­quency and sever­ity of storm events, re­sult­ing in increased rates of sur­face wa­ter runoff,” said Sa­man­tha Hud­son with CARP, a lead on the project called ‘Man­ag­ing Wa­ter in Re­sponse to a Chang­ing Cli­mate in South­west Nova Sco­tia.’

“It is also pro­jected that win­ters will ex­pe­ri­ence al­ter­nat­ing warm and cold pe­ri­ods, in­creas­ing the risk of rain fall­ing on snow and ice, pre­vent­ing it from be­ing ab­sorbed into the ground.”

She said increased drought dur­ing the sum­mers, paired with higher rates of evap­o­ra­tion, can re­sult in over­all lower ground and sur­face wa­ter lev­els in Nova Sco­tia.

“This cre­ates the need for im­proved wa­ter con­ser­va­tion in sum­mer months,” Hud­son said.

And runoff can pol­lute nearby bod­ies of wa­ter with all the waste it picks up along the way – in­clud- ing gas, oil, sed­i­ment, and fer­til­iz­ers.

Fed­eral fund­ing

The project re­cently re­ceived $100,000 in fund­ing from the fed­eral govern­ment’s EcoAc­tion Com­mu­nity Fund­ing Pro­gram which sup­ports lo­cal ac­tion to help fight and adapt to cli­mate change as well as to ed­u­cate and en­gage Cana­di­ans in pre­serv­ing and con­serv­ing wa­ter.

Through work­shops, guest pre­sen­ta­tions, school pre­sen­ta­tions, so­cial me­dia, and other av­enues, CARP and part­ners will raise aware­ness about why storm wa­ter man­age­ment and wa­ter con­ser­va­tion are im­por­tant and pro­vide train­ing and ca­pac­ity build­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties as well as re­sources to sup­port man­age­ment and con­ser­va­tion im­ple- men­ta­tion, Hud­son said.

“We want to see plan­ning for storm wa­ter be­come a norm when peo­ple are mak­ing de­ci­sions about their prop­er­ties and when gov­ern­ments are mak­ing de­ci­sions about in­fra­struc­ture,” she said.

More hu­man de­vel­op­ment means more im­per­me­able sur­faces such as roofs, drive­ways, park­ing lots, and lawns oc­cu­py­ing more space, which then leads to less po­ten­tial for rain­wa­ter to be ab­sorbed into the soil, Hud­son said. “Loss of for­est canopy cover can in­crease rates of sur­face wa­ter runoff, which may also con­trib­ute to flood­ing,” she added.

Ac­tions planned

Dur­ing the two-year project, CARP and the Bluenose Coastal Ac­tion Foun­da­tion will host a ser- ies of free pub­lic sem­i­nars in each county (Kings, Digby, Yar­mouth, An­napo­lis, Shel­burne, Queens, and Lunen­burg) fo­cus­ing on an­tic­i­pated cli­mate change im­pacts on wa­ter qual­ity and quan­tity in the area and ac­tions in­di­vid­u­als can take to mit­i­gate th­ese im­pacts.

They will also con­duct guest work­shops for lo­cal gar­den groups fo­cus­ing on the im­por­tance of rain gar­dens and storm wa­ter man­age­ment.

And a free home as­sess­ment pro­gram will be de­vel­oped and im­ple­mented, con­duct­ing com­pre­hen­sive sur­veys on 120 prop­er­ties. The sur­veys will fo­cus on wa­ter con­sump­tion in each house­hold and pos­si­ble con­ser­va­tion op­tions, and storm wa­ter is­sues and pos­si­ble man­age­ment op­tions through tai­lored ‘Prop- erty As­sess­ment Re­ports’ pro­vided back to the home­own­ers. The project is cur­rently seek­ing in­ter­ested home­own­ers to take part.

Hud­son said the project will also part­ner with lo­cal busi­nesses to install large rain­wa­ter col­lec­tion sys­tems of 1,000 litres – fo­cus­ing on nurs­eries for max­i­mum ben­e­fit and us­age of har­vested rain­wa­ter.

“Signs will also be in­stalled at the sites and they will act as pub­lic demon­stra­tion sites to visit in the fu­ture, whether it is stu­dents, mem­bers of the pub­lic, (or) clients,” she said.

Three other pub­lic demon­stra­tion sites in­volv­ing rain gar­den con­struc­tion near im­per­me­able sur­faces will be lo­cated in Mid­dle­ton, Digby, and the South Shore. In a pre­vi­ous project by the two groups called ‘ Soak­ing up Stormwa­ter,’ they cre­ated six rain gar­dens de­signed to soak wa­ter be­fore it was able to dam­age bod­ies of wa­ter or flood in­fra­struc­ture.

Stu­dents in­volved

CARP and BCAF will also work with stu­dents.

“A wa­ter man­age­ment project will be de­vel­oped for ele­men­tary school stu­dents to do at home,” Hud­son said. “This project will in­volve hav­ing stu­dents con­duct home wa­ter as­sess­ments in their house­holds and share the re­sults with their class­mates to ex­plore com­mon trends and op­tions for wa­ter con­ser­va­tion and storm wa­ter man­age­ment.”

She said one of the hopes they have with the project is that it will help make storm wa­ter man­age­ment a more reg­u­lar prac­tice for pri­vate home­own­ers as well as lo­cal gov­ern­ments and their staff.


Sa­man­tha Hud­son, sec­ond from left, planted trees and cre­ated rain gar­dens in a project called ‘Soak­ing up Stormwa­ter’ that was a part­ner­ship be­tween Clean An­napo­lis River Project and the Bluenose Coastal Ac­tion Foun­da­tion. The part­ner­ship con­tin­ues with a new project called ‘Man­ag­ing Wa­ter in Re­sponse to a Chang­ing Cli­mate in South­west Nova Sco­tia.’ It will in­volve com­mu­ni­ties, busi­nesses, and stu­dents and will help make wa­ter man­age­ment and con­ser­va­tion sec­ond na­ture.

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