'1 in 100 year' flood disasters could happen every other decade
Catastrophic flood events normally expected once a century - similar to those witnessed recently in Pakistan and Australia - can now be expected every 20 years.
This is the view of around 300 scientists, policy-makers, economists and business people who have gathered in Ottawa, Canada today (February 28) for an international conference hosted by the Canadian Water Network (CWN).
The conference aims to highlight Canada's position as an environmental leader in the water industry.
The surface of Canada is covered by freshwater lakes and rivers roughly equal to the entire area of Spain, Germany and Belgium combined.
And, as a result, the experiences of Canada's engineer's means the country is 'uniquely' placed to help out across the world.
According to CWN executive director, Bernadette Conant, said: "A number of northern British Columbia communities - the town of Smithers, for example - have endured '1 in 100 year' floods three times in the past two decades -- disasters underscoring the need for new techniques and ideas in municipal planning and road design.
"It is critical Canada's relative 'abundance' not make Canadians complacent on the water supply issue, nor divert attention from the critical importance of water quality.
"And water is not distributed evenly across Canada, nor are its people, industry and environmental needs.
"Much of Canada's water is frozen or flows north, away from populated areas, and just 1% of its supply is renewed each year by precipitation.
"The quality and security of that supply underpin public and environmental health, as well as the economy."