Cities Cite Stormwater as Primary Climate Change Concern

On May 16, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization released Doubled Trouble: More Midwestern Extreme Storms. According to the report, severe Midwestern rain storms — those totaling 75 mm (3 in.) or more in 1 day — have doubled in the last century. An earlier Water Environment Research Report states that annual precipitation associated with extreme events increased by 14% per decade from 1970 to 1999.

Many existing stormwater systems are not designed to handle more-intense rain events associated with climate change. In a recent survey of 468 cities, stormwater runoff was the climate change issue cities most anticipate addressing, according to a report by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in collaboration with ICLEI–Local Governments for Sustainability.

The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District is taking part in a 2-year study of Minnesota’s changing weather funded by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The study will focus on adapting stormwater infrastructure to projected rainfall patterns in an already developed city, Minneapolis, and a developing city, Victoria.

Read more about how municipalities are becoming “climate-ready” by incorporating adaptation into scheduled maintenance and upgrades.

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