Climate change is altering precipitation patterns across the globe, bringing more frequent and severe storms and floods. These effects will only intensify in the future, increasing the risk of damage to water infrastructure, constraints on supplies, and greater impacts on waterside communities. Yet states and communities are still failing to take these factors into account when planning for their futures, and government policies aren't being designed with these risks in mind. Too often, our policies, practices, and decisions are based on historical data and ignore the threats posed by a warming climate.
NRDC advocates for state and federal policies that account for increased floods risks as well as the impacts on our water resources and supplies. We successfully petitioned the Federal Emergency Management Agency to require states to account for the risks of climate change in their State Hazard Mitigation Plans, though FEMA’s final rule leaves much open to interpretation.
We are pushing for climate-smart flood insurance reforms that would make it easier for property owners to move out of harm's way. We recommend relocating critical equipment or raising it above levels that are at risk of flooding. While urging states and cities to make infrastructure investments to protect drinking-water facilities, wastewater-treatment plants, and stormwater systems and make them more resilient to future disasters, we also advise state officials to tap into available revolving funds to finance such improvements that will ensure communities are prepared for climate change.