The Lower Mainland’s expansive network of dikes will require major upgrades over the next several decades to guard against rising sea levels, according to a report released today from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

The report, Cost of Adaptation – Sea Dikes and Alternative Strategies, estimates the cost of dike improvements over the next 90 to 100 years could cost $9.5 billion.

This cost estimate includes design, project management, land acquisition, environmental mitigation, impacts on utilities and pump stations and earthquake-resistant construction methods. The project study area includes the Metro Vancouver coast and the Fraser River downstream of the Port Mann Bridge, totalling more 250 kilometres of shoreline, an area that encompasses 12 major municipalities with a population of over two million people.

Cost of Adaptation is a followup to a 2011 report called Climate Change Adaptation Guidelines for Sea Dikes and Coastal Flood Hazard Land Use, which predicted a sea level rise of one metre along B.C.’s coast by the turn of the next century. Increasing sea levels linked to climate change are a serious issue that will be faced by coastal communities around the globe in the coming decades.

Cost of Adaptation is intended as a forward-looking document that will allow communities to start planning now to minimize the long-term impact of rising sea levels.

Important next steps will involve the B.C. government and local governments working together to develop a regional flood protection strategy that prioritizes high-risk areas.

This work was undertaken as part of the B.C. regional adaptation collaborative, funded in part by the B.C. government and Natural Resources Canada.

To view or download a copy of the report, visit the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations website at