One of the main jobs of the Grand River Conservation Authority is flood control. Two major events helped create the GRCA we know today, Hurricane Hazel and the Cambridge flood of 1974. Here’s some great footage from Youtube of the 1974 flood.
Since that time, dikes and dams have been built to stop the flooding. Here’s a picture of the river in Galt in 2008.
The GRCA also stopped people from building on the flood plain and requires permits for anything built in an area that might be flooded in a 100 year flood. There is also a flood warning and forecasting system.
Today I attended the flood coordinator’s meeting of the people including police, fire, GRCA, and municipal who receive the fan out of a flood warning for areas like New Hamburg, Ayr, and Dunnville. Dunnville ended up with a flood in 2009 due to an ice jam that ran right up the river, for kilometers. the ice breaker Griffin was able to dislodge some of the ice and help reduce the flooding
It was timely to hear how flood warnings go out, as we are now in the middle of a thaw of the large amount of snow accumulated over the last few weeks combined with rain. The icebreaker, Griffin, is heading to the mouth of Lake Erie to break up an ice jam again. With climate change, we must be ready for 100 year floods that now come every few years.
Here is a video shown at the coordinator’s meeting from the floods in Australia. It was pointed out that we have had sudden large amounts of rain in the watershed and this could happen here.
After the meeting, one of the staff commented to me, “This is why we need permits, even for parking lots.”