~ a growing and changing community
The Office of Emergency Management helps Toronto and its residents prepare for and deal with major emergencies and disasters. They are the City of Toronto’s coordinating agency for emergency and disaster activities, and their website is full of important informations and tips on emergency preparedness, coping and recovery. To learn more about your risks, and how to prepare for an emergency visit their website here.
Rockcliffe-Smythe has a set of risks and potential emergencies specific to our area, because of our location in the Humber River watershed we are particularly vulnerable to flooding. The TRCA has a flood management division aimed to monitor flood conditions, educate the residents of floodplains, and prepare communities for flooding. Take a look at their literature here.
This is become an increasingly pressing issue as climate change has increased the likelihood of more severe and frequent storms, which in turn raises the risk of flooding. Large amounts of precipitation in short periods of time overwhelm the limited capacity of existing stormwater infrastructure or drainage systems and can quickly lead to overflow and flooding.
The existing system does not have the capacity to deal with the increase in water runoff, as seen in this diagram below urbanscapes have 55% runoff from precipitation comparable to only 10% in a natural landscape.
These contributing factors call for creative institutional redesign and change in law and policy to support these institutional changes on all levels of governance. You can learn more about Canada’s actions to mitigate the effects of climate change here, and the necessary City infrastructure change and adjustments here.
To protect your basement from flooding you can install a sump pump(left), which removes water that has accumulated in a sump basin. Another important home addition to prevent flooding is a backflow valve(right), designed to prevent water from flowing back into your home from sewer pipes.
These features can be subsidized from the City, to learn more about how to apply for the Basement Flooding Protection Subsidy Program click here. Other ways to prevent basement flooding include; fixing any cracks in your home’s foundation, ensuring the ground slopes away from your house, clearing debris from your eavestroughs and diverting your downspout.
There are many environmental benefits to Eco roofs. Most importantly to those living in floodplains, eco roofs help reduce urban heat which is a particular concern for cities as global temperatures rise. This is a small step in fighting the effects of climate change, which in turn can aid in reducing the frequency of extreme weather events.
There are two types of Eco roofs; Green roofs which support the growth of vegetation over a large area of the roof to promote water and energy conservation; and Cool roofs which have a high albedo, meaning that they reflect the sun’s rays which reduces heat build-up from the sun’s thermal energy as opposed to a more common darker roof with low sun reflectivity.
Install an Eco roof on any residential, industrial, commercial or institutional building. To see if your building or home is eligible visit Grants for green and cool roofs for the criteria and application form.
Downspout disconnection is mandatory across Toronto, this diverts precipitation from going straight into the sewer system to reduce chances of flooding. You can take advantage of this direct water funneling system to create your own low maintenance rain garden! Rain gardens, help manage stormwater runoff through absorption and by reducing the pollutants that enter our waterways. Rain gardens also help enhance biodiversity and beautify your property, to learn more about how to get started check out the TRCA’s Rain Garden Guide here or a step-by-step Rain Garden Manual here.
Trees absorb water, increase canopy coverage reducing the urban heat island effect, and reduce erosion all of which aids in flood prevention and mitigation.
Other benefits include improved air quality, reduced winds, decrease in heating and cooling costs and increase property values. There is a growing body of international research that supports the importance of maintaining healthy, sustainable urban forests. Get a City Tree for City property outside your house or business.
Get a Free Tree for your yard with Tree for Me, coming to Rockcliffe-Smythe October 15th. If you are interested in receiving a free native tree for your property and learning proper tree care, REGISTER here. Please get in contact with us if you have any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
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