Most of the attention around flooding in Durham Region has recently focused on people living close to Lake Ontario. But Durham residents living near a river or in a neighbourhood with an inadequate stormwater system are also at risk. They got a taste of this in 2016 and 2017, when major rain storms flooded roads region-wide. Unfortunately, things will only get worse as the climate crisis brings us more severe rain events. With greater rainfall comes more flooding. With fewer surfaces that soak up rain, the water hits hard surfaces that quickly overwhelm the stormwater system. Always looking for the lowest point, the water makes its way into basements and other low lying areas.
According to the Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority (CLOCA), Durham residents who will suffer the most are those living in downtown Oshawa, and with homes beside Lynde Creek in Whitby.
In downtown Oshawa, residents and businesses along Oshawa Creek are in a low-lying area that will be flooded after a heavy rain. This will be made worse by the “Great Wall of Durham, “ the embankments for the railway and 401, which act like a bottleneck and keep water from flowing to the lake. Add to this an older stormwater system, and it creates a “perfect storm” that CLOCA states will cause the most flood damage in Durham when a big rainstorm hits. People living east of Lynde Creek, just north of the 401, will also be hit hard, especially those who have homes built right in the floodplain. Heavy rainfalls mean an overflowing creek, made worse by the Great Wall of Durham that won’t let the water drain fast enough. Which means flooded basements. Thankfully, heavy rainstorms won’t harm everyone’s property. But everyone will be harmed. Floods damage roads and other transportation infrastructure, requiring precious tax dollars to repair. Floods also mean insurance payouts, leading to higher insurance premiums that we all have to pay. And, of course floods take a toll on our mental and physical health. To learn more about flooding in Durham Region, especially which areas are most prone to flooding visit CLOCA and TRCA.