January 17, 2017

Climate Change Vulnerability and Risk Assessment for the City of Vaughan

The primary purpose of this vulnerability and risk assessment is to identify vulnerabilities for stormwater assets owned and operated by the City of Vaughan in the context of climate change. The Ontario Climate Consortium (OCC) is engaged in this project to help increase the capacity of City of Vaughan staff to lead climate change risk assessments and to provide the necessary climate data.

Context:

In 2015, the OCC received funding from the Great Lakes Integrated Sciences Assessments Center (GLISA) to advance climate change adaptation action plans in York Region. The OCC team did this by providing data, developing frameworks, tailoring data management systems, and enhancing staff capacity for conducting risk assessments of municipal assets and services. The project included work towards an adaptation planning case study on the asset class of stormwater systems. The City of Vaughan actively collaborated in the GLISA project its experience with the climate change risk assessment tool developed by the City of Toronto.

Purpose:

The primary purpose of this vulnerability and risk assessment is to identify vulnerabilities for stormwater assets owned and operated by the City of Vaughan in the context of climate change. The OCC was engaged in this project to help increase the capacity of City of Vaughan staff to lead climate change risk assessments and to provide the necessary climate data. This project will provide information to support other key city initiatives such as the development of stormwater programming, Asset Management Strategy, and actions to be incorporated into Green Directions Vaughan (the City’s Community Sustainability and Environmental Master Plan).

Methodology:

The assessment uses a variety of widely accepted qualitative analysis techniques associated with the City of Toronto Environmental Risk Tool (COT) and the Peel Climate Risk Assessment Framework Tool (P-CRAFT). Vulnerability and risk is assessed for the present time horizon and for the future time period of the 2050s under the “business as usual” emission scenario RCP8.5. This project focuses on evaluating risks for a limited set of city wide stormwater asset categories including: ponds; stormwater pipes; and, others assets where appropriate (e.g., ditches, inlets, catchbasins, and culverts).

Outcomes:

The expected outcomes of this project include:

  1. Increasing the understanding and usability of the available geospatial information that could support the characterization of vulnerability in the stormwater system;
  2. Increasing technical capacity and materials available to carry out the vulnerability assessment outlined by the City of Toronto Tool; and,
  3. The development of a process lead within City of Vaughan with experience on the use of the City of Toronto Tool including: climate information, vulnerability maps, scenarios developed by a technical lead, and risk rating developed through workshops with the stakeholder.
Acknowledgements:

This project has been made possible with funding from the City of Vaughan. GLISA, the Clean Air Partnership, York Region, and Toronto and Region Conservation have also made contributions to this project.