Water policy design report


 a) Purpose: As a water resource manager, you will be required to create policy papers on various water issues. With this assignment, you will apply your knowledge of water to the real-world example of the flooding issues in the City of Toronto.

b) Context: The world of water management has viewed water as a resource. We look at water through the narrow lens of supply-demand and treating it as an infinite resource. As a result, our policies and legislation cater to that narrow definition of water. Lately, there has been a seminal shift in the way we view water. A helpful example is to see water beyond a mere resource, in the case of Whanganui River in NZ:

 March 20, 2017, something remarkable happened. New Zealand recognized in law what indigenous Maori had been insisting all along: The river is a living being. Parliament passed legislation declaring that Te Awa Tupua—the river and all its physical and metaphysical elements—is an indivisible, living whole, and henceforth possesses “all the rights, powers, duties, and liabilities” of a legal person.

 c) Content: Now imagine that you are a Research Assistant, working for the Water Works, City of Toronto. Your job is to prevent and manage flooding in the city. You are responsible to write a report about the flooding that occurred on July 8, 2013 and propose policy changes based on the questions and information provided below.

 d) Audience and tone: Your audience might include other water managers, hydrologists, bureaucrats, government officials, NGOs, and interested members of the public. Your writing must be rigorous enough to satisfy a scientific audience, but simple and jargon-free so that any member of the public could understand the report. (You can imagine your boss at Water Works will be reading it!)

e) Requirements:

• The report should be 5-6 pages not including references, title page, index, maps and diagrams, if any.

• You must answer all the questions listed below, but your assignment must be presented in a report form, rather than a list of answers. This means that you should organize your report according to subheadings, and that your writing tone should be appropriate to the audience identified above.

• Your report should contain at least 5 references (or more) cited using APA style: two peer -reviewed articles plus one government report at least.

f) Formatting: Margins must be 2.5 cm on all sides. Use Times New Roman font with a point size of 12. Line spacing must be set at 1.5 lines. You must number every page of your paper, except the title page, index, and maps (if applicable).


1. Context: On the afternoon of July 8, 2013, and extending into the night, thunderstorms and heavy rain showers blanketed the City of Toronto. Within a few short hours, almost 140 mm of rain had fallen in the west part of the city. Describe the precipitation mechanism that caused the heavy storm to occur over the city of Toronto on July 8, 2013. (1 page)

2. Surface and groundwater hydrology: Discuss the status of surface and groundwater water hydrology in the Don River West. What happens to surface water during an extreme storm event? (1 page)

Hint: Please see the report Don River Watershed Plan: Surface Water Hydrology/Hydraulics and Stormwater Management- Report on Current Conditions, 2009, TRCA http://trca.on.ca/dotAsset/55383.pdf

3. Flood management in urban settings: Urban flooding and flash flooding poses a huge challenge for hydrologists and flood managers. Please discuss the following:

a) What are the impacts of flooding in highly urbanized cities like Toronto? (1 page) 

b) What is the role of policy makers in terms of emergency preparedness? You should discuss their role in both mitigation and response. (1 page)

4. Policy recommendations: The IPCC is predicting more precipitation in Southern Ontario due to changing climate. What policy solutions and programs will you propose as a water resource manager for the City of Toronto? (2 pages)


1. National Geographic on Whanganui River https://www.nationalgeographic.com/culture/2019/04/maori-river-in-new-zealand-is-alegal-person/

2. Toronto Region and Conservation Authority website https://trca.ca/conservation/flood-risk-management/flood-plain-management/

3. Don River Watershed Plan: Surface Water Hydrology/Hydraulics and Stormwater Management- Report on Current Conditions, 2009, TRCA http://trca.on.ca/dotAsset/55383.pdf

4. Bring Back the Don website. The website is now archived: https://web.archive.org/web/20110607144809/http://www.toronto.ca/don/index.htm

5. Weather http://www.livescience.com/38052-toronto-floods-rainfall-record.html

6. Flood Management: Toronto Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) http://www.trca.on.ca/flood-management-service/