How are we adapting
Local government decision makers are well positioned to take action on climate adaptation because of several key factors:
- Mandate - Local governments legislative mandate includes many services that will be directly impacted by climate change - from infrastructure and utilities, to parks and recreation. Adapting to new climate conditions is crucial to continuing to deliver high quality services.
- Local Scale - As the level of government closest to the community, local governments are well placed to identify unique vulnerabilities to climate change and to prepare responses tailored to the regional and community needs.
- Managing Risk - Proactive adaptation planning can bolster the regions existing risk management by anticipating and mitigating future risks, as well as identifying and making the most of potential benefits.
- Fiscal responsibility - the cost of climate change for Canada is expected to be $21-43 billion by 2015, depending on global efforts to curb emissions, and economic and population growth. Adaptation can significantly reduce these costs, and is a fiscally prudent measure given the extent of services affected by climate change.
Some of our work to help adapt to climate change-related impacts includes:
- Flood planning, which will includes flood infrastructure and upgrades (eg. dikes), and removing excess river sediment build up due to winter storms;
- Developing a Climate Change Adaptation Strategy for our infrastructure to help cope with changing regional conditions;
- Developing up-to-date information about critical water resources both in our lakes and rivers and in our aquifers, so that we can manage this limited resource more effectively;
- Working in partnership with the Cowichan Watershed Board, the Cowichan River Stewardship Roundtable, Shawnigan Basin Authority and others to foster community stewardship of our natural resources.
- Gather critical information such as snow levels and groundwater flows, helping us to manage water resources more carefully;
- Collecting high resolution mapping data for our eastern coastline- from Mill Bay to our northern boundary- to determine the potential impacts of sea level rise and increased storm events on our community.
- Working closely with a range of agricultural partners to develop and support the sharing of resources, tools and knowledge to ensure a robust agricultural sector in the future.