By: Luke Jones, Published on August 28, 2016 10:00 PM, Last Update on August 30, 2016 01:46 PM
The government of Saskatchewan says that it is developing a flood and natural hazard risk assessment that will be used across the province. The news was announced by Duane McKay, emergency management commissioner.
He confirmed that this is a new tactic for Saskatchewan. The province has previously conducted risk assessments in areas of the government. These have been carried out on a per-municipality basis, but he has said there has previously been no assessment plan for across the province. McKay said that the situation is changing with the new plans.
“What we’re doing now is we’re bringing all of this together to do a comprehensive risk mitigation project,” said McKay.
The results of the assessments will give the province insight into areas that are vulnerable to floods and need mitigation projects in place.
“We have a lot more technology, in terms of how we can measure some of this now, then what we used to.”
“Some municipalities have allowed development in and around lake properties and then later – and it could anywhere from immediate to many years later – those properties are flooded because water levels have come up, so it’s to take a look at development as well.”
Flood risk is a major subject amongst the insurance industry at the moment. Only recently have insurance providers offered overland flooding coverage as part of sewer backup policies. At the moment the number of products is limited to a few companies, but the list of providers is growing. No Canadian insurer offers coverage for coastal flooding.
There is a general acknowledgment that the insurance industry cannot work alone to combat flooding and help consumers ride out losses. Government needs to be involved and come up with universal mitigation methods. Not developing on areas of flood risk land is becoming important, and plans like those in Saskatchewan are a step in the right direction.
Government agencies will work with several outside agencies and will start their assessment this fall and conclude their report early in 2018.
“The amount of disasters, in terms of floods and so on, has increased significantly over the last few years and I think now is the opportune time to start doing this co-ordinated approach,” said McKay.