What is the City already doing to adapt to climate change?
The Climate Resiliency Strategy will review the impacts of climate change, assess where the City is vulnerable and prioritize solutions. The City has been addressing climate change risks for many years, including the following initiatives:
- An Emergency Management Plan to prepare and respond to the needs of the community during a major emergency such as flooding, while still ensuring continuation of essential services
- Environmental health education, awareness and response plans to reduce climate related illnesses and deaths associated with ultra violet radiation, extreme heat and humidity, cold weather, poor air quality (including wildfire smoke), flooding, Lyme disease and West Nile virus.
- Applying a climate and health lens to the new Official Plan (policies that guide the building of the city) and its supporting documents to build energy and climate resiliency into future growth and development. The new Official Plan integrates climate change mitigation and adaption policies throughout. For example, it includes revised policies to reduce the impacts of the urban heat island effect, reduce risks in areas vulnerable to flooding and protect our natural and agricultural areas.
- Raising awareness of the link between health and the built environment and highlighting how residents can get involved to make changes in their communities to become more resilient to climate change.
- Supporting community gardens to encourage local production of food
- Building our infrastructure to be resilient in future climate conditions such as extreme weather, greater rainfall and higher temperatures. For example:
- new City sewers are designed to handle larger rainfall events to reduce the risks of flooding.
- the City’s wastewater treatment plant is being upgraded to permit the plant to operate independent of the utility grid, using power produced on site to so it can remain operational in the event of a sustained power failure.
- using asphalt that is more resistant to temperature fluctuations for roads, pavement and parking lots
- the new Combined Sewage Storage Tunnel will greatly reduce the frequency of sewage overflows during storms from entering the Ottawa River and reduce the risk of basement flooding in downtown neighbourhoods.
- Growing Ottawa’s urban forest and making it healthier, more diverse and resilient through the Urban Forest Management Plan.
- Supporting homeowners with grants for backwater valves through the Residential Protective Plumbing Program
- Supporting farmers to adopt new technologies that protect soils and enable them to manage variable rainfall events through the Rural Clean Water Program
- Promoting sustainability and building resiliency in the agriculture and agri-food industry through innovation and knowledge transfer at the Ottawa Smart Farm, which focuses on leveraging technology to help producers optimize their efforts and overcome challenges such as changes in growing seasons and extreme weather events.