Toronto and Region Conservation Authority Responds to Recent Storm Events

Aug. 10, 2018, Toronto, ON – On August 7, 2018, a slow-moving tropical rainstorm formed over portions of North York and moved slowly south across downtown Toronto. This very localized storm inundated the Black Creek watershed and western parts of the Don River and caused flooding in low-lying areas.

At this morning’s Executive Committee meeting of the TRCA Board of Directors, a recommendation moved by TRCA Chair and City of Toronto Councillor Maria Augimeri was unanimously passed requesting staff to report on potential improvements to the flood forecasting program in collaboration with our municipal partners.

The approved motion includes suggestions for enhancing our already established protocols, including: adjustments to the municipal planning review process in flood-prone areas; exploring installation of additional gauges in flood-prone systems; strengthening our communications with municipalities and the public, including working with the media; engaging all levels of government for additional resources; improvements to existing public message systems; and enhanced emergency management training.

“Given our changing climate, our region is being challenged by more frequent extreme, sudden and localized storm events like this Tuesday’s event,”  said Maria Augimeri, Chair, TRCA Board of Directors and City of Toronto Councillor. “We must continually improve our processes and relationships with municipal partners, stakeholders and the public to reduce the risk to life and damage to property regarding flooding.”



In order to provide support to our municipal partners during storm events such as these, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) runs a Flood Forecasting and Warning Program that operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The program is aimed to help provide advice and warning to municipalities for the forecasted timing and severity of potential flooding events. The program specifically provides the following:

  1. Support municipal flood emergency planning.
  2. Maintain a local network, collect data, and monitor watershed and weather conditions daily.
  3. Issue flood messages to municipalities and other appropriate agencies, including the media and the public, to advise of potential flooding when appropriate.
  4. Operate conservation authority dams and flood control structures to reduce the effects of flooding when appropriate.
  5. Maintain communications with municipalities and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) Surface Water Monitoring Centre during a flood event.

The information TRCA provides plays a critical role in assisting our municipal partners in making decisions on directing emergency staff or maintenance works.

The main communication is typically sent through a flood message, which outlines the potential for flooding conditions and weather outlook. Further communications with municipal partner staff can include detailed information such as real-time water surface elevations in our streams and rivers, rainfall, or dam water levels.

TRCA is always looking to improve our methods of communicating information to those that need it, including the use of our website and through our twitter handle, @TRCA_Flood.

TRCA also continuously seeks provincial and government funding to allow for advancements in flood risk assessments and flood risk reduction, flood contingency planning, preparedness through education and outreach and continual improvement in the technology and data management of our flood monitoring network.