Rain in Regina

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A view from a car window, showing accumulation of water on the streets.
How is there always more water on the streets than we actually get in rain? Angela de Marco via Flickr

Every year in Regina, just like clockwork, the weather surprises us 

As an international student who arrived in Regina last year, the surprises brought by the city’s annual deluge have been eye-opening. Having grown up in Mauritius, a small tropical island nestled in the Indian Ocean off the Eastern Coast of Africa, adjusting to Regina’s climate has certainly been an ongoing and intriguing experience for me.  

Poles apart in two different continents, Mauritius and Canada share a surprising commonality: the annual rainfall. While Mauritius, tagged as a tropical paradise, boasts of a warm and inviting climate, it is yet prone to annual cyclones. Meanwhile, Regina, Saskatchewan, known for its extreme weather conditions, encounters a distinct yet comparable natural phenomenon – the annual deluge. In this op-ed, let’s explore the fascinating nature of rain; a natural occurrence that never fails to make its presence felt. 

I always heard about the tales of Saskatchewan’s extreme weather conditions but, this time, I had the opportunity to witness it firsthand. As the seasons unfolded, I got to experience the unpredictable nature of the province’s climate. From bone-chilling winters to scorching summers, its climate is a force to be reckoned with. I quickly realized that the weather, especially the annual rainfall here, demands attention and consideration. With too much rain, we get flash floods! With too little of it we get wildfires, and the “land of living skies” turn into an orange and smoky landscape reminiscent of Mars. So, how much rain is enough? The City of Regina experiences an annual rainfall of 537 mm. With such a substantial amount of precipitation, it is no surprise that the city encounters challenges related to water management, drainage systems, and road conditions during and after heavy rainfall.  

Flash floods overwhelm drainage systems as streets become waterlogged, navigation becomes treacherous, and the city’s infrastructure is put to test. Drainage on streets has been an ongoing issue for years, and another instance is delays in transit caused by heavy rain. On top of all that, Regina faces the additional challenge of road construction during the summer months. The road construction projects, aimed at improving infrastructure, just add another layer of complexity to this already challenging instance as commuters make their way through detours and temporary closures. Low-lying areas and streets such as Scarth Street or the Albert Street underpass become susceptible to water accumulation, resulting in obvious road blockages and further waiting times during rush hour. 

But, if we let nature take its course, how do we better prepare ourselves as residents of Regina? Well, it’s high time to pave the way for effective solutions. This means empowering residents with knowledge about responsible water management, promoting community awareness, and advocating for sustainable infrastructure at least as a viable long-term goal. For instance, the city can organize workshops and educational initiatives that provide the residents with information on water conservation and stormwater management. Local organizations should collaborate with the city to host public events to facilitate open discussions while working towards a more conscious community. Simple yet vital flood protection tips should be provided to homeowners.  

The monitoring of basements for signs of water infiltration should be considered. Safety precautions like properly storing hazardous materials, elevating electronics off the basement floor, and ensuring sewer caps are in place should not be neglected. Moreover, outdoor measures like clearing gutters and downspouts of debris should be enforced. Eco-friendly practices should be adopted, and emergency response plans should be developed to address the impact of heavy rainfall, including swift and effective deployment of emergency services so that public safety is at optimum during such extreme weather events. 

To crown it all, while it may seem daunting to strike a balance between too much and too little rain, we must acknowledge that nature plays a vital role in maintaining harmony with our ecosystem. Rain as a natural resource nourishes the land and sustains life. Rather than attempting to control or manipulate rainfall, our focus should instead be geared toward adapting and preparing ourselves for its variations. So, while the recurring challenges brought by the heavy annual rainfall are no laughing matter, we can certainly make a splash with our preparedness! 

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