City of Halifax waterfront
Halifax Water is one of the funding partners for the climate change adaption project for water and wastewater design. Photo credit: Petrov Vadim, AdobeStock.

Canada’s Department of Natural Resources has announced an investment of $318,000 over three years to embed climate change adaptation into design guidelines for municipal water and wastewater infrastructure in Atlantic Canada.

Funded through Natural Resources Canada’s Building Regional Adaptation Capacity and Expertise (BRACE) Program, the money will go to the Atlantic Canada Water and Wastewater Association (ACWWA). BRACE works directly with provinces to deliver projects that include training, internships and knowledge-sharing activities that will build the capacity Canadians need to respond to the effects of a changing climate, according to NRCan.

The climate change adaptation project, entitled Incorporating Climate Resilience for Municipal Infrastructure into the Updates of Existing Atlantic Canada Water and Wastewater Design Guidelines, includes awareness training for public works professionals, utility engineers, and consulting engineers, in order to understand their capacity to put new guidelines into practice.

The total value of the new project is $645,000, and includes funding from the ACWWA, the governments of Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as the City of Charlottetown and Halifax Water.

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“The design guidelines have been vital resources for our members, and their update ensures that climate change implications become a key consideration that is vital to the long-term success and sustainability of water and wastewater projects,” announced Jennie Rand, chair of the ACWWA, in a statement to media.

The ACWWA has now issued a notification to its membership about updates to the ACWWA Water Supply and ACWWA Wastewater Guidelines. The statement notes that climate-resilient infrastructure refers to “infrastructure planned, designed, built, and operated in a way that anticipates, prepares for, and adapts to, changing climate conditions.” Climate resilience also means it can “withstand, respond to, and recover rapidly from disruptions caused by climate conditions.”

ACWWA is requesting input from stakeholders who have: 1. General or specific comments on the current guidelines that should be considered with the updates. 2. Photos of climate impacted water and wastewater infrastructure that could be incorporated into the capacity building component.

A web portal has been established on the ACWWA website to provide a platform for stakeholders to upload and download documents relevant to climate change/climate resilience and the updates of the Water and Wastewater Guidelines.

The ACWWA has also created a Knowledge Mobilization Plan to facilitate the collection and dissemination of current information on climate change and guidelines development.

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