The Bog

  • Saturday March 29th is Earth Hour, a worldwide event organized by World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The event began in one city and six years later Earth Hour events span 7,000 cities, touches 7 continents and includes hundreds of millions of participants. During Earth Hour individuals, communities, households and businesses are encouraged to turn off their non-essential lights between 8:30 and 9:30pm in your local time zone. This simple act is intended to “encourage an interconnected global community to share the opportunities and challenges of creating a sustainable world” (to read more about Earth Hour visit the WWF website). Congratulations to Edmonton for being named the Earth Hour Capital of Canada by the WWF! 

  • While much attention had been paid to large community scale mitigation projects and methods, there are opportunities for individuals to play a role in mitigating flooding. To tap into these opportunities the WaterPortal will be sharing a series of blogs entitled “Make A Difference - Actions For Individuals To Mitigate Flood and Drought” which focuses on small, individual efforts that can positively contribute to flood (and drought) mitigation. Spoilers: it all has to do with what we know about, and the health, of our watersheds.

    To be very clear, a single person will not be able hold back the entirety of future flood waters on their own. However, enough people engaging in small acts can make a difference, especially in smaller scale events. 

    Damage from flooding is generally caused by a combination of:

    1. speed of water
    2. quantity of water, 
    3. or an insufficient information or data.

    The following series of blog posts will present a number of ways individuals can help mitigate future floods along the three ways flood damage occurs.

     

    Measuring Rain, Hail, and Snow 

    “The Rain Doesn’t Fall The Same On All” - Unknown

  • Welcome back to our series on actions individuals can take to contribute to flood mitigation on a community level. This week we are looking at water storage using rain barrels. 

    rain barrel

    Photo: "rain barrel" by barbndc is licenced under CC BY 2.0.

    Using a Rain Barrel

    There are many different ways to mitigate large-scale flooding but the use of dams and reservoirs to store flood waters, particularly using the TransAlta reservoirs, has received a lot of attention[1]. While managing dams is a complex process, the principles around filling and spilling can be applied on a smaller scale. Operating a nano-sized reservoir is a great hands-on learning opportunity for kids at home (or curious adults).

  • Over the past several weeks we have been on a learning journey teaching us how ecologically healthy watersheds mitigate for flood flow volumes. Specifically we have learned that:

    • healthy soils rich in organic matter hold and store more water than depleted soil systems;
    • established wetlands act as sponges across the landscape absorbing surface water runoff, subsequently replenishing our aquifers while slowly releasing runoff into our streams and rivers;
    • dense riparian edges provide buffer zones that slow down high flow volumes, and at the same time, filter surface and subsurface runoff; and
    • undeveloped vegetated floodplains provide the river room to meander and attenuate flood flow volumes via established roots structures.

    This has all highlighted the beneficial flood mitigation functions these ecologies offer us and led us to this final blog in the series.

    We have touched on the multifunctional role these ecologies play in providing us with many other important ecosystem goods and services such as drought mitigation, improved water quality and biodiversity, erosion control, climate regulation, important habitats for aquatic and terrestrial species, and recreational spaces for humans. This is a reminder that investing in the ecological resiliency of our watersheds for flood mitigation creates many other positive feedback loops.

  • Welcome to the last instalment in our 'Summer Stories Worth Revisiting' series. This summer there were a number of water stories that took an interesting turn and this past week we've been reposting five stories that are worth a second look. Our last post looks at water restrictions that impacted Okotoks, Turner Valley and Black Diamond in 2014.