Government of Nova Scotia Government of Nova Scotia Nova Scotia, Canada


Climate Change

Flood Mitigation Framework

Nova Scotia Flood Mitigation Framework - our approach to flood management

The primary objective of this Framework is to reduce the impacts of flooding in vulnerable Nova Scotia communities.

This will involve strengthening provincial leadership on the issue and supporting community level flood mitigation activities. The approach is grounded in risk management, a process that is already well-established and understood by governments and businesses throughout Nova Scotia. The approach addresses flood risks, rather than flood events, aiming to minimize the adverse effects (costs) of flooding by making the losses less likely, less severe, or more predictable. This approach aims to move the province to a more holistic and proactive (rather than reactive) mode of action on flooding. A critical component of the Framework is to build new and improved cross-government collaboration on flooding that will improve communication and ensure that local flood mitigation activities and decisions are supported.

The following approach recognizes that flooding issues are complex, involving several actors and many contributing factors, and that no plan can ever completely eliminate the risk of floods. In response, it provides a coordinated approach to flood risk management and demonstrates provincial leadership in the shared effort that is needed to reduce the risk of flooding in vulnerable communities. As such, this Framework was built using the following guiding principles:

  • Communities are best suited to identify, prioritize and (in most cases) implement actions,
  • The province must help, encourage and support community actions,
  • The province can provide leadership through how it manages its own infrastructure,
  • Actions and investments should be prioritized based on risk management procedures and community vulnerability (minimize the adverse effects of flooding by making the losses less likely, less severe, or more predictable),
  • Solutions need to be implemented only after a thorough assessment of the situation (“do no harm”), and
  • The province will continue work with municipalities to plan for and respond to emergency events as prescribed within the Emergency Management Act.

The Provincial Flood Mitigation Framework contains two parts, Support for Communities (CS) and Provincial Leadership (PL), and is summarized in the tables below. It was designed to fill in gaps and provide greater clarity on how to address this issue for all Nova Scotians.

The Provincial Flood Mitigation Framework was designed to be a five year initiative (2013/14-2017/18). Metrics will be developed to measure progress on each of these actions so that in year four, the province can commence a strategic evaluation to determine the effectiveness of the actions and to identify how best to go forward in the next five years.

Part One: Support for Communities (CS)

In this case, community is defined as the municipal government(s), the people who live there and the businesses that operate there. They most directly feel the impacts of flooding events but also control much of the planning and key infrastructure impacted by, or affecting, flood events. Support for communities involves ensuring they have the information they need to make the appropriate decisions, and helping/encouraging them to make investments that reduce vulnerability and risk to flooding events.

Initiative Summary Lead Resources
CS1: Flood Assessment Fund (FAF)* Matching funds available to develop integrated and collaborative community flood assessments, meant to inform, educate and identify solutions to reduce flood risks. Now included in FRIIP program
CS2: Flood Risk Infrastructure Investment Program (FRIIP) Matching funds available to communities to invest in identified flood mitigation infrastructure that will reduce flood risks. DMA $500,000/yr
*Funding will be available for flood assessments through a single application process to the Flood Risk Infrastructure Investment Program.

Part Two: Provincial Leadership (PL)

In the first part, provincial support is focused on building community capacity and incenting investments to reduce flood risk. The actions in Part Two include improving provincially owned infrastructure, improving interdepartmental collaboration, and strengthening the tools used in the provincial-municipal relationship.

Initiative Summary Lead Resources
PL1: Dyke Improvement and Reinforcement Funds dedicated solely to improve existing dykes to reduce flood risk in vulnerable communities. NSDA and NS TIR $2,000,000/yr
PL2: Provincial Infrastructure Design and Engineering Standards Keep up-to-date with current design and engineering standards for provincial infrastructure to ensure it incorporates future flood risk considerations. Includes working closely with at risk communities when NSTIR work is scheduled in these areas. NS TIR Existing
PL3: Prov/Mun Planning Tools and Support Programs Provincial planning and support tools will be reviewed and adjusted to ensure they a) adequately require communities to incorporate flood risk in their planning processes and b) include investment in flood mitigation measures as an eligible expense. DMA Existing
PL4: Development Approvals The approval process for activities regulated through the Environment Act will be reviewed and adjusted to incorporate flood risk to vulnerable communities. NSE Existing
PL5: Climate Data for flood risk assessments Work with communities to provide localized climatic data and projections for flood risk assessments. NSE Existing
PL6: Scientific and geo-technical advice for coastal flood risk assessments NSDNR will continue to capture, store and make coastal flood and erosion risk information available. Work with NSE and communities to provide scientific and geo-technical advice for coastal flood risk assessments. NSDNR Existing
PL7: Emergency Management Planning and Response EMO (DMA) will include future climate projections as a key piece of information to distribute to municipal emergency management coordinators as they prepare and update their EM plans for their respective areas. EMO (DMA) Existing
PL8: Governance and Coordination Form an ad-hoc provincial group to guide, coordinate, implement and report on the Flood Mitigation Framework. Led by senior officials, accountable to deputy ministers via twice yearly updates/reports. NSE Existing

The proposed spending numbers are planning values and subject to approval and confirmation.