P.I.P.E.

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P.I.P.E. is a two phase plan that incorporates a living shoreline and a pipe that carries excess sea water to a reservoir.

overview of the idea

The problem of sea level rise in Vancouver-and the world-is a serious one that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later. The P.I.P.E. plan to deal with sea level rise has two phases to be implemented. Firstly, a living shoreline would be created around the edge of both the ocean shore and as much of the river shore as possible. By creating a living shoreline, we would add to the beauty of the city; create more habitat for displaced animals and birds; and use much of the excess water, preventing the water from flooding nearby residential, industrial and agricultural land.

The second phase of the plan would require an addition to Lower Mainland infrastructure. A series of tidal valves would be installed in sensitive areas around the ocean, especially around the airport, Richmond and Delta. Furthermore, they would be placed around the Vancouver landfill to prevent contamination. The tidal valves would connect to a newly created pipeline that would be created under or beside the current highway systems.

This pipeline would lead to a reservoir in the mountains that could be used to alleviate water shortages in the Okanagan, Alberta or internationally to mitigate against drought. Furthermore, the pipeline could be fitted with hydroelectric gathering technologies, that would allow the province and local communities to generate more clean energy options, either for use or for sale. 


how it works

Phase 1 works by planting deep rooting foliage along the west banks of the lower mainland from which we create a system that works on 3 fronts. Firstly, the roots work in reducing bank erosion by making a living net that holds soil together which keeps the shore strong. Secondly, the water intake of the mass amounts of the foliage will reduce rising sea levels through water use. All the while, the plants increase in photosynthesis will create a mass carbon sink to aid in slowing down future climate change, the main cause of rising sea levels. This phase works towards a future solution as well as a current fix.

Phase 1 works by planting deep rooting foliage along the west banks of the lower mainland from which we create a system that works on 3 fronts. Firstly, the roots work in reducing bank erosion by making a living net that holds soil together which keeps the shore strong. Secondly, the water intake of the mass amounts of the foliage will reduce rising sea levels through water use. All the while, the plants increase in photosynthesis will create a mass carbon sink to aid in slowing down future climate change, the main cause of rising sea levels. This phase works towards a future solution as well as a current fix.

The second phase involves implementing one-way flow tidal valves, that allows water to enter with no back flow and  leads to an underground water main. These valves would be in key areas around the west banks, as well as near the garbage dump. This main will transport water from high intake points along the coastal edge to a geothermal desalination plant located in a rural mountain area. Geothermal desalination will reduce the salinity of the sea water on average from 35,000 ppm to 51 ppm, depending on implementation. Once desalinated, the water will be stored in a water basin to be used for a plethora of uses, such as irrigation for local or regional farms, forest fire reduction or possibly emergency drought relief in California or locally, depending on need.

How communities will adapt and thrive

P.I.P.E. has the potential to help many communities both in and outside of the Lower Mainland. Phase one would require community participation in planting the living shore. Planting, weeding, and care of the land could be done by volunteers; the elderly who want to communicate with neighbors and their community; or by schoolchildren who could learn the importance of environmental care. The living shoreline can create community bonding, as well as educational benefits for both the locals and the many tourists who come to our city. This phase would be a large undertaking that would create jobs, some of which would be permanent for the maintenance of the newly created habitat, as well as for potential education centers.

Phase two would also create many local jobs in the construction of the pipeline, the installation of the tidal valves and the creation of a reservoir in the mountains. The pipeline and the reservoir would require monitoring, maintenance and upkeep to remain safe and viable. The reservoir itself has much potential for positive community benefits. For instance, the reservoir could become a recreation facility, much like Cultus Lake, or it could be used for emergency drought relief water in the Okanagan, or during times of forest fires or other emergencies both in BC and outside of it. While BC is a rainforest, there are always times when a reservoir of potable water is needed.

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Stephen A. Jarislowsky

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