Climate Resilience Express Action Plan
In the fall of 2017, the Town of Okotoks was one of several Alberta municipalities who were selected to be part of the Municipal Climate Change Action Centre (MCCAC) Climate Resiliency Express Program. Through the initiative, the MCCAC and All One Sky Foundation provided support and resources to help Okotoks plan for and manage the local impacts of climate change. The Town was provided with a long range climate change impact analysis for our community, a one day workshop with internal and EPCOR staff to identify risks, priorities and action items, and a final compiled Town of Okotoks Climate Resilience Express Action Plan.
Action Plan Summary
The effects of climate change are already apparent in Okotoks, with observable changes in temperature, precipitation, and extreme weather events over the last century. The impacts of climate change on the Town could be numerous and diverse, giving rise to uncertain consequences, for infrastructure and services, property, the local economy and environment, and the health and lifestyles of citizens. To better prepare for these potential impacts, Okotoks has prepared this Action Plan, which identifies some initial actions to help manage potentially significant risks and opportunities anticipated to result from climate change over the next several decades.
In total, seventeen climate-related risks and six climate-related opportunities were identified by participants at a workshop in the Town of Okotoks on December 7th, 2017. Three risks were judged to be priorities requiring immediate action:
- Water supply shortage;
- Drought; and
- River flooding
Starter action plans were developed for these priority risks at the workshop. Okotoks is already committed to numerous actions that help manage the above priority risks, including: floodplain mapping, data and research for the Sheep River; floodplain development regulations; structural and non-structural flood mitigation infrastructure; emergency response planning; universal water metering and pricing; water conservation measures, including an outdoor watering schedule, rebate programs and education programs; landscaping standards and xeriscaping to promote water conservation; use of non-potable water for outdoor watering; and development of a Water Shortage Management Plan.
In addition to existing actions that help mitigate he consequences of the priority risks, sixteen further actions were identified for consideration to help Okotoks better prepare for climate change. Several of these actions could be implemented quickly with minimal investment, whereas other actions have longer-term timeframes and require a higher level of investment. Implementation of these actions will ensure that Okotoks remains resilient under a wider range of potential future climate conditions.
QUEST Municipalities and Utilities Partnering for Community Resilience Initiative
In March 2018, The Town of Okotoks was one of six Canadian municipalities selected to be part of QUEST’s Municipalities and Utilities Partnering for Community Resilience (MUPCR) Initiative. The Initiate is focusing on three municipalities in New Brunswick and three municipalities in Alberta and their respective energy utility providers. The MUPCR Initiative will assist Okotoks and our local utility system providers, Fortis and ATCO, in exploring, aligning, and integrating our processes for climate adaptation and resilience planning. This Initiative will run from spring 2018 to spring 2020.