Expert Advisory – The Implications of Widespread Flooding

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

With heavy rains and melting snow predicted for much of this week there have been numerous flood warnings issued and evacuation exercises undertaken in Brantford. This extreme weather could have potentially damaging implications for infrastructure, homes and the natural environment. The University of Waterloo has several experts available to speak on this topic.

Shawna Peddle – FloodSmart Canada

Shawna Peddle is the director of Partners for Action an applied research network advancing flood resiliency in Canada in the face of a changing climate and extreme weather. She collaborates with a diverse set of stakeholders from academia, business, government and non-governmental organizations to protect Canadians from the risks of flooding in the face of climate change.

"Most Canadians are not aware of their flood risk and don't know what their insurance covers. Most floodplain maps are not up to date and we’re seeing an increase in flooding at any time of year. There is no such thing as flood season anymore. It’s a year-round risk. Canadians need to understand their flood coverage and the easy and low-cost options they can take before, during, and after a flood."

 - Shawna Peddle


Merrin Macrae – Geography and Environmental Management

Merrin Macrae researches hydroclimatology, biogeochemical cycling and surface-water following disturbances such as flooding. Her researchers have been out water quality sampling for the past few days and will be sampling all week.

“Events like this are a major concern. Rain and surface flooding on bare soils on agricultural fields can flush sediments and dissolved chemicals into waterways. Fields with fall-applied manure or fertilizers are at risk for losing some of these nutrients in runoff. In urban areas, construction sites and gardens are at risk for the loss of sediments and nutrients. Pet wastes that have not been removed are also a problem. The rain and melt will wash these materials over the pavement and into storm sewers and out into the creeks.”

— Merrin Macrae


Jason Thistlethwaite – School of Environment, Enterprise and Development

Jason Thistlethwaite, a professor and researcher in the Faculty of Environment at the University of Waterloo studies the economic effects of climate change, natural disasters and extreme weather.

“Flooding is Canada’s most costly and common hazard, so don’t be surprised if heavy rain over the next few days leads to significant damage in Ontario. Unfortunately, almost all Canadians underestimate their flood risk leaving them vulnerable to out of pocket expenses, which exceed $600 million annually. Governments are complicit in this risk without greater efforts to inform and educate Canadians about their risk and strategies to protect their property.”

 — Jason Thistlethwaite 


Cheryl Evans – Home Flood Protection Program

Cheryl Evans is the Director of Home Flood Protection Program Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation (ICCA) — a flood risk reduction education program helping homeowners reduce their risk of basement flooding and minimize damage if flooding occurs. 

The ICCA can speak on what specific measures homeowners can take to help mitigate their risk of flooding and property damage both inside and outside the home. These include clearing snow from your foundation up to 6 feet, install window well covers and checking your sump pump and back-up battery.

- Cheryl Evans


About the University of Waterloo
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Media Contact:

Ryon Jones
University of Waterloo
519-888-4567 ext. 30031

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