Supporting resilient communities

Communities around the world are on the front lines of the impact of climate change. Extremes in temperature and precipitation and the associated hazards can result in extensive damage and disruption for communities.

BGC is dedicated to helping our clients understand the impacts of climate change on hazards and risks faced by people, critical infrastructure, assets, and the environment. Understanding cascading risks from the indirect effects of climate change is a critical piece to this, and one that BGC is uniquely qualified to support with our expertise in earth sciences and engineering.

Our Communities Sector Team is committed to partnering with our clients to create a path to measurable risk reduction for all communities. Climate change impacts all aspects of community interactions with the environment from natural hazards such as floods, wildfires, and landslides, to safe and reliable drinking water access. Building resilient communities and reducing earth related risks starts with a strong foundational understanding of climate processes and how those influence the hazards and risks that communities face.

Natural hazards

Severe and extreme weather, and weather-driven events, such as wildfires (and post-wildfire landslides), floods, debris flows, and other types of landslides can cause extensive damage and disruption to communities. Recent extreme weather events across the globe demonstrate the impacts of these types of events on communities and the environment. A recent example are the November 2021 atmospheric river events in British Columbia, Canada, which were the costliest natural disaster in the province’s history with $450 million in insured losses alone. Research has shown that human-caused climate change substantially increased the likelihood of the November 2021 atmospheric river event, the resulting precipitation, and flooding. Countless studies have also shown that extreme weather events are projected to occur more often, last longer, and be more severe over time in response to climate change.

At BGC we are dedicated to supporting clients working within communities to identify the potential hazards that exist, assess how the frequency or severity of such hazards may adjust in response to climate change, assess the associated risks, and support our clients to identify and implement cost-effective risk management strategies. Our Communities clients include all levels of government, First Nation and Indigenous communities and organizations, non-governmental agencies, developers, emergency response planners, and asset managers.

As BGC supports our clients to identify potential risks, there is also an increasing demand to support the development of processes to prioritize and address risks using approaches that are regionally consistent and economically sustainable. Our subject matter experts can help facilitate this process of risk identification, assessment, mitigation option development and optimization to maximize the potential benefits for the available investment.

Community planning and asset management

Lifecycle planning for community infrastructure and assets requires consideration of time spans that call for inclusion of climate change. As our populations increase, the demand to expand communities into new areas requires careful consideration of the potential risks from natural processes both in their current state and into the future. BGC’s expertise in geoscience and engineering can support clients to develop land-use and asset management plans that are resilient over the long-term.

BGC understands that important decisions on asset management (e.g., parks and community centres), critical facilities (e.g., hospitals, schools, retirement homes), and infrastructure (e.g., highways, water lines, bridges) need to consider the funding structures and cycles available to the groups responsible. BGC has extensive experience in translating needs into clearly defined goals, rationale, and outcomes for grant-funded projects from site-specific to regional scales.

We can help connect partners for regional studies and define projects that advance long-term risk management goals over multiple funding cycles. Our expertise in supporting private and public clients enables cross-sector sharing of BGC-developed tools and software applications that facilitate analyses over geographic scales and at a level of detail that would not be possible for individual clients alone.

BGC helps government, transportation, and land developers find effective structural and non-structural solutions to reduce water, earth and climate-related risks – and help define what “acceptable risk” means.  If infrastructure is not resilient to a changing climate, the need to repair and replace structures in advance of the end of design life could put significant financial strain on asset owners. BGC provides designs that are resilient to a changing climate over the service or design life of the structures to ensure they remain operational over the intended life span.

Water quality and quantity

Climate change can directly or indirectly impact communities’ groundwater supply in terms of quality and/or quantity. BGC brings knowledge and experience in groundwater management issues by providing applicable hydrogeological and/or geophysical techniques to monitor, model, and interpret the subsurface, as well as the surface water-groundwater interaction. BGC’s hydrogeological and geophysical teams offer unique and optimized expertise to work on challenges related to reduced groundwater supply, managed groundwater recharge and salt-water intrusion in coastal communities.

BGC is dedicated to helping our clients better understand the risks they face from the natural environment allowing them to make pro-active, informed decisions to address the risks and increase community resilience. Interested in finding out how? Contact our Climate Change Team.

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