Municipal Climate Adaptation
How Climate Change Impacts Nova Scotia
In Nova Scotia, climate change is expected to bring warmer than average temperatures and greater fluctuations in our average highs and lows. This has the potential to threaten vulnerable populations with heatwaves, damage agriculture outputs, cause droughts and even strengthen coastal storms.
Sea Level Rise
Nova Scotia is a peninsula with no point within the province further than 60 kilometres from one of three major bodies of water — which are all expected to rise by around 1 metre by 2100. Not only will the base sea level rise along our coasts, but it will also enable storm surges to reach further inland.
Nova Scotians are already working on adaptation strategies, which include:
- Coastal setback policies
- Armoured shorelines
- Living shorelines
- Dykes & Levees
- Coastal restoration projects & retention of existing coastal marshes
If you or someone you know is concerned about the impact of sea level rise on their home or community please do not hesitate to get in touch with us!
Extreme Storm Events
Most climate models show that Nova Scotians can start to expect more frequent and more extreme storm events. Specifically, this will entail higher temperatures, colder “snaps”, as well as intense rainfall events.
In Nova Scotia scientists are still unsure as to whether we will see more hurricanes but are certain we will see stronger hurricanes with greater impacts fueled by higher sea levels and warmer ocean temperatures.
Flooding & Flood Management
Flooding has always occurred in many parts of Nova Scotia – this is largely due to our series of our historical and continued settlement along river valleys, flood plains and coastal areas. However, as we’ve continued to build non-permeable infrastructure like asphalt, pavements and concretes – we are continually eroding the natural landscape’s ability to absorb water.
Furthermore, as climate change alters our storm and rainfall patterns even built infrastructure like stormwater management systems are becoming unable to properly contain and process the sheer volumes of stormwater, riverine flooding and coastal flooding.
Drought is a long period of abnormally low rainfall leading to a shortage of water – in the case of Nova Scotia, this adversely affects those with groundwater wells.
Although droughts can have many different causes – most scientists across Canada and globally have linked more intense droughts to climate change. With the rainfall patterns changing it can have the adverse effect of drying out and killing vegetation and then dousing barren areas with heavy rains – which in turn leads to more flooding due to the soils and vegetation being unavailable to hold, store and use the water.
Climate Adaptation & Mitigation
Flood Prevention for New Homes
With water levels becoming increasingly unpredictable, coastal properties are some of the most dangerous places to build. If you are already built along the water’s edge here are a few ideas on how to lessen the impacts that flooding may have.
Evaluate the risk your home may be facing by consulting flood plain maps. If your home can not be found on the flood plain map consider seeking advice from neighbours, previous owners or members of your community to ask for “word of mouth” history of flooding in the area.
If your home is deemed to be vulnerable there are a series of actions you can take to flood-proof your home. These include but are not limited to the following actions that range from expensive and complex to simple DIY style projects.
Raising your Home's Foundation
Although this is the most expensive option – it is simply put that raising your house raises its flood level. In many areas even a few inches of rain can cause significant damage – therefore even raising the home a few inches above flood level could save you significant damages down the road.
Installing Basement Sump Pump
Applying Coatings & Sealants
Raising Electrical Outlets & Switches
Installing Valves on Pipes
Ensure that any pipes entering your house have valves to prevent flooded sewage systems from backing up and re-entering your house.
Grade Landscape Away from the Home
Point Downspouts Away from Home
Allow your property to retain natural features
Rain garden, bio-swales and cisterns
Backup power source
Active transportation like biking, walking, running and other forms of non-motorized transport are not only excellent ways to keep in shape but can also significantly reduce your personal carbon emissions as well as hazardous and climate change related air pollutions.
Another more direct way to mitigate your contribution to climate change is to switch your home’s power sources to renewable sources like solar, wind, geothermal or other combinations.
Using renewables to power your home can in some cases reduce or even eliminate your utility bills – plus the tax and rebate incentives available through the province of Nova Scotia, Efficiency Nova Scotia, Clean Foundation and others can help make the installation and financing of the systems more affordable.
Solar panels on rooftops are probably the most recognizable form of home-based renewable energy and depending on the location and orientation of your home may be able to generate 10 or more watts per square foot of installation, where a typical Canadian house uses at least a kilowatt of power a few square feet of solar panels should be enough to power most if not all of your needs!
Solar Batteries & Power Walls
The idea behind systems like this is that the batteries or power banks can be charged with solar power or via the traditional grid system if you choose to have it as a backup source. It’s like a giant rechargeable battery, but for your home. With power banks you can:
- Use the power at low peak hours to reduce your electrical load and cost
- Run your entire home’s system from the battery, especially at night or during a power disruption when you can’t fully rely on direct solar electricity.
If you are curious about your home’s capacity for solar power – check out solarassist.ca