Home New mexico real estate Yes, it could happen to you. Like water -2-

Yes, it could happen to you. Like water -2-

0

The fight against environmental injustice spans from air pollution to water reliability, and more. It’s an issue that many have made a priority, including in the just-passed Congressional Spending Act, which comes on top of last year’s Infrastructure Act. In total, the “Cut Inflation Act of 2022” provides $369 billion for climate and clean energy, the most aggressive climate investment ever by Congress. Environmental justice initiatives under the act, such as conditional use grants in underserved neighborhoods, amount to more than $60 billion, but are primarily aimed at addressing the effects pollution impacts on low-income communities and communities of color.

Previously in Alabama, the Biden administration called Lowndes County a test case for environmental justice. As residents struggle with trash removal and sewer drainage, sometimes relying on their own band-aid solutions to municipal shortcomings, the federal government has enforced a groundbreaking provision of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. It’s an effort that advocates say could lay the groundwork for how the federal government tackles some of the worst issues plaguing communities of color across the country, as MarketWatch previously reported.

What can we do against climate change?

What is the impact of climate change on the water we use for drinking and washing?

Generations-old sewers are regularly overwhelmed by larger storms. Algal blooms and excess sediment can contaminate reservoirs during high temperatures and prolonged drought. Sea level rise may also interfere with septic systems and cause salt water to seep into wells. Even fire poses a risk. When wildfires destroy water pipes and spread chemical contamination, it can take months for drinking water to be safe again.

Nonprofit First Street has created a risk factor tool for real estate professionals, but also for individuals, businesses and anyone who wants granular data on heat, flood or wildfire risk . In fact, his Flood Factor site for Jackson shows that the city’s critical infrastructure is at “major risk” of flooding. This includes services such as hospitals, police stations, fire stations, airports, seaports, power plants, sewage treatment plants, superfund/hazardous waste sites and water treatment facilities worn out.

Clearly, cities too often react to floods, droughts and water impacts as an emergency, after the fact, with damage already underway. Increasingly, experts say, cities will need to plan for scenarios worsened by climate change and rethink the location of vulnerable people, in vulnerable landscapes.

This is where climate science and urban planning can sync up.

“We use scenario planning to help managers consider multiple plausible climate futures as they develop strategies to deal with specific management challenges,” says Michigan professor Rood.

In his teaching, Rood emphasizes that people, and where they can access shelter, are important.

“In most exercises I’ve been involved in, the instinct of local officials is to protect property and persist without changing where people live,” Rood said, in a comment. “However, in many cases this will only buy time before people have no choice but to move. Scenario planning can focus on these difficult choices and help individuals and communities to control the effects of climate change.

Of course, water issues challenge the western United States where persistent drought conditions weigh on municipal water use.

According to the US Drought Monitor, drought has spread to more than half of the United States this year; the drought in the southwestern United States is the most extreme in 1,200 years. The frequency, intensity and duration of droughts are increasing, causing myriad problems, including regional wildfires, and this trend is expected to continue with climate change.

Water levels in Lake Mead’s main reservoir have dropped to record lows. Nearly 6 million people in the Los Angeles area are feeling the crunch as authorities impose unprecedented restrictions on water use.

Lake Mead and Lake Powell, created by the Glen Canyon Dam, not only provide water and power to tens of millions of people in Nevada, Arizona, California, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico and Mexico, but they also provide irrigation water for agriculture. Experts warn that as the crisis worsens, water cuts will have to be introduced, but that may not be enough.

Homeowners might think of actions such as upgrading to water-efficient appliances or growing water-efficient plants. But for the Urban Land Institute, cities and developers, and ultimately residents who buy into such plans, need to completely rethink water. ULI highlighted this research in a report released earlier this summer.

“Historically, drought relief practices have focused on acquiring new water sources through infrastructure such as diversions and dams,” said Marianne Eppig, lead author of the report and director of resilience at the ULI urban resilience program. “Recently, there has been a shift. Communities are recognizing that efficiency improvements and conservation are the most cost-effective and least environmentally damaging ways to meet collective water needs.”

Eppig and his team cite specific examples that could be scalable elsewhere, such as the “urban village” of Civita, San Diego, California. It was developed with mandatory water reuse, low-flow appliances, smart meters, native plants, and water-efficient irrigation.

And, at Denver Water headquarters in Denver, Colorado, the state’s largest water utility, efforts focus on using the most appropriate source water for each use, such as rainwater for irrigation and flushing, in addition to reducing as much water demand and as possible in the environment through much wider recovery and reuse.

Ethic’s Korte aims to direct investments and investors towards the improvement of infrastructures.

“Climate models can help locate new reservoirs where rainfall is expected to increase, as well as make the case against new hydroelectric investments in areas that will experience more drought,” he said.

“There’s also a lot more room to use existing water resources more efficiently. Some municipalities, like Orange County in California, use treated wastewater to help recharge local groundwater systems; more at north, in Salinas County, California, advanced treatment technologies treat municipal, urban and agricultural wastewater effluent and water from food processing plants into drinking water,” he added.

Those goals may seem far off in Jackson this week, as most residents just hope to stay safe.

“I love doing business in Jackson and I love the people of Jackson,” said restaurant owner Emerson. “I just hate dealing with problems.

The Associated Press contributed.

Related stories:

A quarter of the United States will fall inside an extreme heat belt. Here are the states in the red zone

Flash floods, like in Las Vegas, are deadlier than hurricanes, tornadoes or lightning

A retirement sheltered from climate change? Ask the tough questions about real estate and property insurance

-Rachel Koning Beals

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswire

09-04-22 0618ET

Copyright (c) 2022 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.