Disaster risk is always around us, and it is becoming increasingly important to understand and address. And yet, we struggle to reduce disaster risk, in large part because impacts are complex, wicked, systemic, and uncertain. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the many tentacles of disaster impacts as well as the challenges that are faced by governments and others to understand, communicate, and act to mitigate these impacts. Many recent examples of floods and associated social, ecological, and financial impacts highlight the complexity of managing this one hazard in particular.
Effective governance of and planning for flood risk needs to recognise the wicked and systemic nature of disaster risk. This is a messy space to work in, but one that Ebbwater thrives in.
To do our strategic policy and planning work, we build on international best practice and frameworks, most notably the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. These and other frameworks guide us through a process of understanding the risk, understanding the local, regional, and national contexts, developing values-based decision processes, and finally working to determine preferred actions to reduce risk and increase resilience.
What sets us apart is our desire to listen and incorporate local values and contexts into our planning processes as well as our application of a large toolbox of mitigation actions. We don’t limit ourselves to engineered solutions, in-fact, we think of these as the tools of last resort. To do this work, we collaborate with other professionals based on individual project needs; this may be facilitation, planning, biology, legal expertise, etc.…our network of professional tools is as large as our toolbox of mitigation actions!
Flooding has many components to it, and this has been crazy interesting to me in terms of how good the work has been and the information has been… regarding connecting with different levels of government to support future grant programs. The work that Ebbwater and Dawson Creek have been doing now on this flood planning is used as a pilot and discussion for lots of the work going on around the Province and nationally.
– Dale Bumstead
Mayor, City of Dawson Creek
Ebbwater has been instrumental in supporting the CVRD as we navigate the complexity of managing coastal flooding throughout the region. They have led an effective and comprehensive stakeholder engagement process to build a shared understanding and approach to mitigate risk and adapt to impacts related to climate change. Their expertise, organization and innovative approach has been key to the success of our project and the capacity building process.
– Robyn Holme
Long Range Planner, CVRD