Water defines Niagara Region by the lakes that surround it and the canals and rivers that run through it. Residents know the power water has to shape Niagara, thanks to the mighty Falls: They also know the damage it can cause. Over the past few years, high river and lake levels have caused serious flooding from Fort Erie to the south to St. Catharines to the north.
In 2019, an intense rainstorm overflowed rivers and stormwater systems and submerged much of Lakeside Park in Port Dalhousie, including the newly renovated carousel, as well as roads across the region. Since 2017, higher than usual lake levels have led to flooding along Lake Ontario and Lake Erie for many residents. And, like other regions along the Greater Golden Horseshoe, flooding is caused by too many hard surfaces channeling ever more rain into stormwater systems designed for an earlier era.
Unfortunately, things will only get worse as the climate crisis brings us more severe rain events. With greater rainfall comes more flooding. Rivers overflow and lake levels get higher. With fewer surfaces that soak up rain, the water hits hard surfaces and quickly overwhelms the stormwater system. Always looking for the lowest point, the water makes its way into basements and other low lying areas.
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 Niagara Region, visit NPCA.