Asvisory of the Day
DEPT MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS & ENVIRONMENT, NL: NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR WELL INSURED AGAINST FLOODING
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The Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment website states that "flood damage is an increasing problem," in the province. It is attributed to growing population density around bodies of water driven by waterfront property value. As the population grows on floodplains, the province seeks to understand the history of the phenomenon in the area.
Erin Shea, Communications Director with the Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment Newfoundland and Labrador, said that "infrastructure damage generally represents the highest percentage of repair costs from a major flood, very often this is municipal infrastructure." Shea added that the damage can include "exposure of and damage to water and sewer lines." Often bridges and culverts are damaged "due to inadequate capacity to convey the spring flood flows through them."
In order to be prepared the department undertakes regular flood risk mapping, hurricane alerts, as well as maintaining and cleaning infrastructure in the spring. The province engages in the usual flood preparations such as sandbagging, Shea said that "at times there has been the ability to divert stream flow to avoid further impacts to infrastructure [and] property."
A very important point is that access to overland flood insurance is gradually being introduced in Newfoundland and Labrador," for private sector claims. Until this become more available and affordable, Shea said that the "government will access the Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements program (DFAA) to assist with private sector claims." There is available coverage for sewer back-ups and for commercial properties.
As we have seen people's needs in times of flooding may go beyond the material. Shea continued, the province "will deploy resources to to support individuals or families," who require social support. Shea said that "residents in need of temporary emergency social services have their basic needs provided for through the provincial department responsible for [that] and from non-governmental organizations."
Shea concluded by saying "surface water supplies can be affected, as well as wells." Surface water supplies "might have sediment and silt run into them, while wells might be flooded and contaminated." Caution is to be advised before drinking this water when the water levels and flow rates drop.
The Flood Risk and Vulnerability Analysis Project which is a collection of data on flood and storm events from 1950 to 2014 underline the province's commitment to finding solutions to increasing flooding events. Contained in the project is nearly 700 records of flood events in Newfoundland.
The significant flooding in the town of Badger in 2003, which according to the Department of Environment and Climate Change, caught "the town off guard, [and] extremely cold conditions encased a large portion of the town in ice." As a result of this event the province The province innovated its approach, which "aided decision makers forecast whether floods from ice jamming may occur in the future."
Newfoundland and Labrador partnered with the European Space agency to develop a project that "has been presented internationally as a model for other jurisdictions to learn from." In 2003, no real-time monitoring of the river ice existed. The department explained that the project placed "cameras on the Exploits River to visually assess ice conditions, [used] satellite imagery to assess how much ice is in the river and where it is consolidating." The project even issued alerts for provincial, local, and emergency response personnel.
Newfoundland has realized the increasing threat of flooding and has managed to rise to the occasion learning from past flood events in the province and adapting new techniques which allow it to better predict floods and effectively respond to them.
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