Climate change is one of the great disruptors of our time. As average temperatures rise, we anticipate more frequent, intense storms—as we've already seen in recent years in major cities such as Edmonton. As potential for stormwater flooding increases, we need to think differently about how we move water away from people and critical infrastructure.
But, with great challenge comes great opportunity—a chance to make our cities stronger and greener, while protecting life and what matters most to us.
Knowing what we do today, utilities must take a lead role in building smarter stormwater systems, says Susan Ancel, EPCOR's Director of Stormwater Strategies.
"Climate change is forcing us to become more proactive in planning for extreme weather events," she says. "Utilities can no longer stay silent. We have to actively engage with the communities we serve to understand the risks and our shared priorities, and work together on the solution."
In Edmonton, EPCOR is committed to investing in flood-resiliency in areas with higher risk of flood impacts, and targeting drainage improvements and homeowner programs to reduce the risk. The drainage systems of tomorrow will use smart monitoring and control technology to anticipate and react to storms in real time.
Making our cities flood-resilient means more than just reducing risk. Susan sees opportunity to use our expertise to make the cities of tomorrow better places to live.
"In the future, we will see a greater emphasis on 'green infrastructure' that re-introduces natural elements such as dry ponds, rain gardens, bioretention basins, box planters and tree soil cells," she explains. "These low-impact developments slow the entry of stormwater into the drainage network by absorbing it, creating space in the collection system during storm events."