Canadian Underwriter

One cheap way for cities to reduce basement flood risk

June 11, 2020   by Greg Meckbach

Print this page Share

The Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation is encouraging Canadian municipalities to follow the example of Nova Scotia municipalities that are distributing basement flood prevention tips to property owners with their tax bill.

Starting Friday June 12, both the town and county of Antigonish will be sending a one-page infograph – with 15 basement flood risk reduction tips – to property taxpayers, Intact Centre head Blair Feltmate told Canadian Underwriter this week.

“This is something that any government can do, and I am hoping the example set by Antigonish County and the Town of Antigonish will be one that municipalities across Canada will follow,” said Feltmate, whose research centre at the University of Waterloo gets funding from Canada’s largest property and casualty insurer.

For the Antigonish upper and lower level municipal governments, the price per property is whatever it costs to print one sheet of paper, said Feltmate.

The 15 tips are divided into three steps: five things homeowners can do twice a year without paying any money; five things they can do for $250 or less; and five projects that would normally cost more than $250 and would normally require a professional contractor.

Without spending any money, the Intact Centre says homeowners can:

  • Clean out backwater valves
  • Clean out eaves troughs
  • Check for leaks in plumbing, fixtures and appliances
  • Remove debris from nearest storm drain, ditch or culvert; and
  • Test the sump pump

For Antigonish residents, instead of receiving a page of tips with their junk mail, this would be with their tax bill, said Feltmate. “That doesn’t just get tossed to the side.”

For the town and county of Antigonish, the idea came when Intact Centre officials were speaking shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, about 50 kilometres west of The Strait of Canso, which separates mainland Nova Scotia from Cape Breton island.

A slide was shown depicting tips for homeowners to reduce basement flood risk.

“They very much liked it and through a series of rapid meetings, [they] followed up with us to say, among other points, ‘How can we take that information and get it into the hands of homeowners?’”

Some things homeowners can do for under $250 include extending downspouts and sump discharge pipes at least two metres from foundations.

Homeowners can also hire a contractor for more than $250 to install window wells that sit 10 to 15 centimetres above ground and upgrade to water resistant windows. They can also hire a contractor to correct grading so that water drains to a point at least two metres away from the foundation.

Feature image via

Print this page Share

Have your say:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *