Draft Details

Designation:W210 (New Standard)
Review start date:Feb 10, 2021
Review end date:Apr 10, 2021
Contact email:brian.zupancic(at)csagroup.org
Draft Scope/Description:

1 Scope

1.1 General

This Standard outlines voluntary guidance associated with a flood hazard and vulnerability screening framework. The purpose of the screening framework is to aid in the process of prioritizing flood risk-reduction work within existing communities. This Standard provides

a)    a guide to users;

b)    references to related publications;

c)    definitions for use in the standard;

d)    a description of flood mechanisms;

e)    context of climate change considerations;

f)     approaches to prioritizing flood resilience works; and

g)    an overview of possible best practices.

1.2 Guiding principles and criteria

This Standard for existing communities (as opposed to new or recently planned communities) is being guided by a number of principles and criteria which are intended to support the development and application of this Standard in various jurisdictions across Canada. This Standard is intended to support unbiased and transparent decision-making related to those locations within a municipality which are deemed to be most vulnerable to flooding. Once identified, these areas would be the priority for more advanced flood risk analysis, development and design of solutions, and / or flood mitigation investment. The principles include

a)    The consideration of the full range of flood mechanisms present in a community;

b)    The consideration of interdependency between various flood mechanisms in  establishing flood risks;

c)    The consideration of site-specific conditions, as well as existing community planning policies and principles, in the determination of flood risk; and

d)    The consideration of flood-exacerbating factors such as climate change (future frequency and severity of precipitation), urban intensification and changes in upstream land uses that affect long-term resilience.

This standard is not intended to replace local, provincial or federal directives related to infrastructure planning and design. It is to be viewed as a complement to existing CSA standards and those guidance initiatives.

Note: While increases in runoff due to climate change have received more attention, the impacts of uncontrolled intensification may actually be more severe. For instance, climate science suggests that rainfall intensities may increase by 30% to 40% by 2100. In comparison, doubling the imperviousness from 30% to 60% may increase the runoff by more than 100%. This highlights the need for appropriate stormwater controls as part of integrated land use policies in communities subject to not only climate change but intensification as well.

1.3 Topics in and out of scope

The following table summarizes those topics within and outside of the scope of this standard.


In Scope

Out of Scope


Canadian communities located below the 60th parallel north (i.e., southern communities)

Communities north of the 60th parallel, including permafrost communities

Flood Hazards

Riverine (Fluvial)

Overland (Pluvial)

Storm and sanitary sewer back-up

Infiltration (seepage)

High lake levels


Storm surge, and sea level rise

Unique flood hazards (e.g., dam failures, tsunami, etc.)

Development Type

Urban and suburban residential developments*

Mixed-use development/neighbourhoods (e.g., residential and commercial/employment and institutional)

Stand-alone non-residential developments (e.g., solely industrial, commercial and institutional land, agricultural land, and major transportation routes)

Note: In the absence of coastal-specific guidance, the prioritization framework described in this standard might also be applied to efforts to identify and prioritize areas where flood mitigation action might be needed in communities impacted by coastal processes.

1.4 Users

This Standard is intended for use primarily by municipalities and other authorities having jurisdiction across the different regions of Canada. Municipalities are typically the owners and operators of (public) storm infrastructure and related amenities; hence, are usually on the “front-line” during the planning and budgeting phases, which this standard will support. Given that the factors that affect the nature and extent of flooding extend beyond municipal boundaries, other levels of government and flood stakeholders are also involved to varying degrees and roles. Users of this standard may include

a)    municipalities and regional government agencies;

b)    watershed managers and Conservation Authorities;

c)    federal, provincial, and territorial governments;

d)    the general public;

e)    senior municipal administrators;

f)     elected officials; and

g)    the business and development communities.

1.5 Application

The guidance provided in this Standard applies to municipalities and other authorities having jurisdiction who are responsible for establishing budgets and programs to assess and manage flood risks within residential and mixed use areas within their watersheds. Through the application of the provisions in this Standard, municipalities will be better informed as to where the locations of highest flood risk are with their limits and then to plan for logical and systematic investment, premised on a consistent and transparent protocol.

1.6 Terminology

In this Standard, “shall” is used to express a requirement, i.e., a provision that the user is obliged to satisfy in order to comply with the Standard; “should” is used to express a recommendation or that which is advised but not required; and “may” is used to express an option or that which is permissible within the limits of the Standard.

Notes accompanying clauses do not include requirements or alternative requirements; the purpose of a note accompanying a clause is to separate from the text explanatory or informative material.

Notes to tables and figures are considered part of the table or figure and may be written as requirements.

Annexes are designated normative (mandatory) or informative (non-mandatory) to define their application.

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