With floodwaters, driven by an atmospheric river, creating devastating impacts across the south-west portion of our home province, what we are thinking is “I told you so”.

So many conclusions and recommendations from so many reports are flashing across our minds. The scientists in us are experiencing a moment of validation:

  • “Atmospheric Rivers will produce winter floods, and these will be big” – check.
  • “Tributaries to the Fraser River need to be considered in flood management plans” – check.
  • “Dikes and hard infrastructure are fallible, and will be tested with climate change” – check.
  • “Uncontrolled building in flood hazard areas will result in damage” – check.
  • “Flood consequences are broader than structural damage; disruption will be felt Canada wide, mental health challenges are important” – check.
  • “Flood risk governance in BC is broken” – big check.

But all in all, right now, the primary emotion related to being relevant and right is not elation. It’s much closer to despondency, with a wee sprinkling of hope. Hope, that once the response is over, and recovery is underway we can convince decision makers to listen, and be prepared to make some incredibly hard choices. We need to do things differently.

We hope that this statement from a recent report delivered to the Province will also be validated in the months and years to come: “There is an amazing opportunity to improve flood risk governance in BC, which will create safer more resilient communities today and in future”.