Report Says Flood Mapping Needs To Be Updated

With severe weather and flooding becoming commonplace, the Essex Region Conservation Authority wants to update it's flood mapping information.

Director of Watershed Management Tim Byrne delivered a reports on climate change, flood prevention, response, and mapping during Thursday night's board meeting in Essex.

Byrne says the current flood mapping is nearly 30-years out of date.

ERCA is recommending Windsor-Essex fund an update rather than wait for the government to get around to pay for the project.

"Most of our major waterways, valley lands and known hazard areas have been mapped, but fringe development has taken place within those areas," Byrne says. "Damage areas are well mapped and well known, but we're now expanding away from some of those areas."

The climate change report ties into everything according to Byrne, who says recent events are hard to ignore when it comes to shoreline and inland flooding.

"We are in a changing environment in respect to climate, it's not fake news. This region has been hit with significant, almost epic rainfall events, in the last five years," he says. "Our guidelines, which we're currently finalizing, factors in what we have to provide for redundancy and to ensure our ratepayers are safe."

When it comes to significant rainfall and flooding, Byrne says there's no end in sight so preparation has to happen.

"We're going to continue on this trend unfortunately that we've seen for the past three or four years," he says. "The probability analysis right now is showing that levels will meet and or exceed what we've seen so far for 2017 and 2018. We shouldn't be surprised it hasn't stopped raining the past three weeks."

The report also recommends environmental studies be performed on a broader scale when it comes to development to ensure they are complete.

Byrne says several small studies don't give the entire picture of an area when considering the impact a project can have existing infrastructure.

He hopes municipalities on board when it comes to updating the flooding map when they hold their 2019 budget deliberations.