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Flood season requires monitoring, preparation, action

Public Safety Canada states that floods are the most common natural disaster in Canada. And among the costliest. It ranks the highest in “adaptation investment”, meaning, expenditure to risk mitigate the effects, according to IBC’s recently published infographic. But many would agree that the benefits far outweigh the costs.

In the future wake of post-COVID-19 recovery, government leaders and economists will be more strained than ever before with public funds. Forecasting, preparation and action for flood response will soon become ever prevalent in our communities.

Authorities have set up water monitoring systems to provide greater situational awareness. Service New Brunswick, for example, has launched the River Watch site to provide access to flood forecast data. The emergence of the service, which is built with the ArcGIS API for JavaScript, is a story of collaboration in and of itself – it is the work of Civic Tech Fredericton, Environment Canada, Service NB, Department of Public Safety, Emergency Measures Organization and the Environment and Local Government departments. “It’s amazing the number of organizations that contribute data and effort to make River Watch available to the public. It is our most popular mobile website. We are currently seeing a 77% increase in mobile device activity,” Bernie Connors, geomatics engineer at Service New Brunswick, said.

“The River Watch mobile website displays water level measurements and forecasts for 25 locations. It is completely mobile and browser-based for ease of use to our citizens and helps with situational awareness of potential flood risks to communities and first responders.”

Another solution to highlight for enhancing a community’s situational awareness is the new Emergency Management Operations solution. Like New Brunswick’s flood monitoring app, the EMO solution can help expose potential impacts of floods. It offers several response and tactical advantages: pre-configured ArcGIS templates that support key emergency management operations workflows such as conducting damage assessments, executive briefings, workforce management, and more. A list of the apps that are available in this solution package can be found here.

Whatever your solution is to manage natural or climate-related disasters, it is imperative that it communicates insights that drive action.