Drought disaster planning and adaptation in rural British Columbia
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Drought is one of the more devastating climate-driven hazards across the world. Its impacts have long term impacts and can lead to degradation of access to sufficient water, food and other necessities for human life. British Columbia experiences drought on a regular basis and given the increasing impacts of global climate change on the province, it is crucial to understand how small municipalities are prepared for this hazard in the present, as well as how they intend to address the hazard in the future. This project is a multiple-case study applied methods examination of current drought preparedness and adaptation planning in the BC communities of Tofino, Merritt and Dawson Creek. Findings show that there are significant gaps in disaster and emergency plans to currently address this hazard at the municipal government level, with minimal adaptation plans for the future. Case study sites rely heavily on water restriction adherence by residents and commercial users to reduce demand in drought season. There is a universal expectation and reliance on the Provincial government to ‘save the day’ in the event of any major drought event, despite the Emergency Program Act which states that it is the responsibility of municipalities to identify and address their own hazards.
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