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Delta throwback: Another big flood coming 'sooner or later'

The Fraser Basin Council warns more frequent floods could be coming
The Deas Island Cannery in Delta after the flood of 1894
The scene at the Deas Island Cannery after being damaged by the flood of 1894.

Let’s do another throwback and revisit the greatest flood on record for Delta, an event that occurred in 1894 and affected the southern half of British Columbia.

Because development was sparse, that flood didn’t cause extensive damage.

During a second major flood in 1948, the dikes failed.

Ten people died in the 1948 flood and 2,000 homes were destroyed, while 16,000 residents were evacuated.

According to a recent report by the Fraser Basin Council, the lower Fraser River floodplain now has over 350,000 people estimated living in the high hazard areas.

The report notes that in more recent years, there have been "close calls" with flooding of unprotected lowlands along the river and coastline.

“The Lower Mainland will face another large flood sooner or later - and projections under climate change are for more frequent and severe floods, with $20-30 billion in projected losses if multiple dike systems are unable to holdback floodwaters, given extensive development in flood hazard areas. Future growth projections tell us the region will increase by over a million people by 2050, so the risk will increase. Choices made today for flood risk reduction matter greatly for tomorrow,” the report adds.