Cities and towns near the Gulf Coast need to prepare for sea level rise and increasingly extreme weather. But many small communities do not have enough staff, funding, or data to do so. And often, their resources are already strained from past storms.
“When you have low capacity in a variety of areas, you’re kind of in a constant cycle of response recovery, response recovery, response and recovery,” says Teal Harrison of Adaptation International. “It can be hard to pick your head up and kind of look forward, or you might not have the support to help you to do that.”
Harrison leads engagement for the Floodwise Communities Project. The project is helping almost 60 cities and towns assess how extreme weather will affect their stormwater systems.
Communities learn which pumps, street gutters, and other infrastructure are most at risk. They analyze which neighborhoods are most vulnerable and the potential impacts of flooding on emergency services.
Harrison says communities can use the data to prioritize projects or apply for grants.
“Some folks are looking at that to figure out how they could improve their communications with their communities and their engagement with their communities,” Harrison says.
And because the program is offered for free, it can help underresourced communities plan for climate change.
Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media