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B.C. floods could be Canada's most costly natural disaster: study

Fraser River near Mission.
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons
May 31, 2016 - 8:30 AM

VANCOUVER - A new study says the risk of a devastating flood in British Columbia's Lower Mainland is increasing due to rising sea levels and other impacts of climate change.

The Fraser Basin Council says a major flood along the coast or the Fraser River could be the most costly natural disaster in Canadian history, with potential losses of about $32 billion.

The group says in its report that flood risks are projected to worsen over the next 85 years, both in size and frequency.

The report notes dikes in the Lower Mainland were constructed in the 1970s and '80s, that 71 per cent of those assessed could fail if either the Fraser River or the coast floods and that only four per cent of the barriers meet provincial standards for crest height.

Colin Hansen, chairman of the Fraser Basin Council, says there's a pressing need to change the way communities are planned in order to address climate change, and that includes the dike system.

The B.C. government has announced $1 million in funding to develop a flood action plan for the region.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
The Canadian Press

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