An Equitable Water Future: Louisville focuses on building equity in the infrastructure workforce, primarily the water sector, in Louisville, Kentucky. Local factors that influence water equity are described, including concentrated vulnerable communities that are disproportionality experiencing aging infrastructure, flooding and climate impacts, and barriers to participating in the local infrastructure workforce. The report outlines recommendations to address these issues that Louisville and other municipalities can take to advance sustainable and equitable utility management.
In June 2019, the Norfolk City Council adopted a policy authorizing the creation of Special Service Districts (SSD) to support implementation of local flood risk reduction and water quality improvement projects in the City of Norfolk, Virginia. SSDs enable a group of residents to agree to pay a tax to finance additional services in a particular neighborhood. The Norfolk policy allows SSD funding to be used to pay for flood mitigation, dredging, water quality improvements, and coastal protection projects.
The City of Atlanta, Georgia Department of Watershed Management is issuing an environmental impact bond (EIB), which will finance green infrastructure to address water quality, reduce flooding and improve stormwater management in Atlanta’s Proctor Creek Watershed neighborhoods. The $14 million EIB – the first to be offered on public markets – was the result of a partnership between the City of Atlanta, Quantified Ventures, the Rockefeller Foundation, and broker-dealer Neighborly. Supporting the expansion of EIBs into public markets, the Rockefeller Foundation will cover the costs of structuring a public bond with a grant to Atlanta – chosen from applicants of its 100 Resilient Cities network.
Mexico Beach is on the Gulf of Mexico in Bay County, Florida and faces climate enhanced hurricanes, coastal storm surge, sea level rise and flooding impacts. In October 2018, Hurricane Michael, a Category 4 storm, made landfall in Mexico Beach demolishing 70% of the town’s homes. The coastal community has amended the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) flood zones maps to reflect storm surge flood levels and high risk floodplain areas as implicated by Hurricane Michael flooding. An ordinance has been adopted in which new construction in Mexico Beach must be elevated at least a foot and a half higher than FEMA’s base-level flood predictions in both the region’s 100-year and 500-year floodplains.
The Regional Resilience Exposure Tool (R2ET) is an interactive mapping tool that illustrates current and projected coastal flooding risks to resources in the Northeast Florida region. The types of flooding mapped are FEMA flood hazard zones, storm surge, depth of flood at defined storm occurrence intervals, and sea level rise at defined water levels. Users can select data layers for resources to overlay on flooding layers including critical facilities, priority wildlife species, and vulnerable populations.
The plan to develop a climate resilient Boston Harbor in the City of Boston, Massachusetts offers strategies for Boston’s 47-mile shoreline that will increase access and open space along the waterfront while better protecting the city during a major flooding event. The plan focuses on green infrastructure and natural solutions to lowering the severity of sea level rise and flooding from climate change. “Resilient Boston Harbor” invests in Boston’s waterfront with a proposed restructuring of Fort Point Channel, and development of coastal protection from East Boston to the Dorchester shoreline.
This Public Policy Institute of California report examines climate change impacts on water resources in California, and the state’s capacity for adaptation to water scarcity and drought. California’s 2012–2016 drought – which was the hottest in the state’s recorded history and one of the driest – is used to assess water management and responses from that time in four sectors: cities and suburbs, irrigated agriculture, rural communities, and freshwater ecosystems. Policy and management reforms are recommended for drought planning, water infrastructure and operations, water rights administration, and funding.
From The Kresge Foundation and American Rivers, this report presents the findings of an assessment conducted by the Meridian Institute on Kresge’s Climate Resilient and Equitable Water Systems (CREWS) initiative. This report describes the challenges and opportunities for practitioners working at the intersection of water systems, climate resilience and social equity.
The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) researched the impact of sea level rise tidal flooding on coastal real estate, for the entire coastline of the lower 48 states. The study identified the number of residential and commercial properties at risk of chronic inundation, including the total current property value, estimated population, and property tax base affected. UCS determines that some coastal real estate markets will not likely recover under high future GHG emissions scenarios in which sea levels rise greatly; and the number of properties facing chronic inundation is much reduced under low emissions scenarios.
On June 22, 2018, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed Senate Bill 265 creating a new cabinet-level position to address coastal adaptation and protection in Virginia. The bill states that the Special Assistant to the governor will be responsible for leading statewide efforts in response to coastal flooding; working to initiate economic development opportunities associated with adaptation; and fostering coordination throughout the Commonwealth, especially in Hampton Roads, a coastal region of the state that is most vulnerable to sea level rise and land subsidence.