Project helps Nova Scotia prepare for climate change

The Atlantic Climate Adaptation Solutions project is working to address common climate change issues in Atlantic Canada.

By Emily Hiltz

Will Green, head of the ACAS project, with promotional posters (Emily Hiltz photo)

Nova Scotian towns and communities are more prepared than ever in the fight against climate change thanks to a new project developed by Natural Resources Canada and the Department of Environment.

The Atlantic Climate Adaptation Solutions project is working to address common climate change issues in Atlantic Canada.

“We’re worried about rising sea levels, increases in storminess, storm surges on top of the base of rising sea, and we’re worried about fresh water resources,” said Will Green, head of the ACAS project’s Nova Scotian department.

Another concern of Green’s is drinking water.  In Atlantic Canada, he says many people get their drinking water from private wells. Rising seas could push sea water further on shore, creating problems for those who rely on wells for their water.

The ACAS project will also help communities prepare for future floods and storm surges by showing which areas will be most affected.

“Ultimately what we hope that the outcome will be is that those communities will be able to plan, develop, and build infrastructure in a way that is resilient to climate change,” said Green. The hope is that potential risk and damage will be reduced and the communities will save money.

Tim Webster, a research scientist with the Applied Geomatics Research Group, at the Nova Scotia Community College, has also been working on the ACAS project generating flood risk maps.

Related Links
ACAS Press Release
ACAS project website
Department of Environment
Natural Resources Canada

“If a community has a planner, they will look to see what infrastructure, or new infrastructure is at risk, and what areas are vulnerable to flooding,” said Webster in a phone interview Friday. The maps will also show which roads will need to be closed and where transportation will have to be rerouted in case of a flood.

Nova Scotia is almost completely surrounded by water and therefore is extremely sensitive to the effects of climate change, like rising sea levels and increases of storms.

“We’re right in the track of the tropical storms and hurricanes that come up the coast every year. We’ve always dealt with that. What we’re concerned about is the rate of change in things like sea level which is happening much faster than anyone has had to deal with in the past,” said Green.

Nova Scotia and the government of Canada will have invested around $2.5 million in the ACAS project by the end of this year.

Related audio
[audio:http://peninsula-news.kingsjournalism.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/willgreeninterview.mp3|titles=willgreeninterview] 

Will Green explains the ACAS project and the effect it will have on communities