Understanding and Assessing Impacts
Extreme rainfall events temporarily increase demands on stormwater systems and increase the volume of rainwater flowing into streams and rivers. As climate change increases the frequency and intensity of such rainfall events, Victoria’s current stormwater infrastructure may become overwhelmed. Risks associated with these climate-related impacts include potential extensive damage from sanitary waste backing up into homes and environmental damage as untreated sanitary waste is discharged into streams and lakes. The 2012 Canadian Infrastructure Report Card noted that 40 to 50 percent of participating local governments have no data on the state of their buried infrastructure. Twenty percent of Canada’s wastewater and stormwater infrastructure was estimated to be in “fair” to “very poor” condition. Local governments likely need more than $55 billion to replace these failing systems. In Victoria, a city with several older neighbourhoods, aging sewers and wastewater infrastructure meant the City was vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, as increased extreme rainfall events would result in greater stormwater inflow and infiltration. Since the damage from such inflow and infiltration was largely preventable by proactively rehabilitating failing infrastructure, the City of Victoria identified the need to establish and implement a plan that would better control the inflow and infiltration of rainwater into the sanitary sewer system. Understanding the core issue and the City’s vulnerability to climate change, Victoria moved to the planning phase of their adaptation efforts.