When it rains it pours

Van­cou­ver’s raini­est days of the fu­ture will be a lot wet­ter (and there will be drought too)


Over the next 30-odd years, Van­cou­ver’s raini­est days will get a lot rainier.

Snow­packs that re­gen­er­ate the wa­ter sup­plies we drink each spring will be smaller. Win­ter nights will be warmer, and so will sum­mer days. As glaciers melt, the sea level will rise. So will the risk of ex­treme flood­ing as storms be­come more fre­quent.

There will be ex­tremes on the other end of the spec­trum, too. Drought will be more com­mon, and heat­waves will pose a se­ri­ous health risk — com­pound­ing the prob­lem of badly pol­luted air drift­ing through the city as wild­fires burn.

That’s the un­com­fort­able pic­ture painted by up­dated cli­mate pro­jec­tions for Van­cou­ver circa 2050. That’s the sce­nario the City of Van­cou­ver is pre­par­ing for.

On Wed­nes­day, as the B.C. gov­ern­ment un­veiled its long-awaited cli­mate plan, Van­cou­ver’s city coun­cil ap­proved an up­date to its own cli­mate-change adap­ta­tion strat­egy out­lin­ing a se­ries of ini­tia­tives the city will un­der­take over the next five years.

Through the up­dated plan, the city will con­tinue to pre­pare for a rise in ex­treme rain events, while also work­ing on wa­ter con­ser­va­tion ini­tia­tives im­por­tant to with­stand­ing fu­ture droughts, said Tam­sin Mills, a se­nior sus­tain­abil­ity spe­cial­ist with the City of Van­cou­ver.

With more ex­treme heat events pro­jected, the city will en­sure new build­ings are de­signed to stay cool in the sum­mer, not just warm in the win­ter.

As part of this plan, the city is fo­cus­ing on Van­cou­ver’s most vul­ner­a­ble.

City talk­ing with res­i­dents of so­cial hous­ing to un­der­stand how they deal with ex­treme heat. Full story at thes­tar.com/van­cou­ver

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