Is Climate The Mother Of Innovation?

Flooding in New York City caused by Hurricane Sandy
Flooding in New York City caused by Hurricane Sandy Photo by Patrick McFall

Toledo, Ohio’s summer battle with toxic algae is just the latest in a string of weather-related catastrophes to beset our nation’s water and sewer systems. Hurricane Sandy’s unprecedented storm surge caused more than $500 million in damage to coastal water systems. Last year’s Arizona wildfires that killed 19 firefighters also devastated forested watersheds in a region already defined by water stress. And, of course, Hurricane Katrina swamped New Orleans’ water system, causing one of the few weather-related credit downgrades in the sector’s history.

Across the country, extreme weather is exposing the vulnerability of 20th century water infrastructure. This liability was brought into stark relief by a lawsuit brought by Farmers Insurance Co. against municipal sewage systems in the Chicago region for failing to invest in upgrades that could have prevented a monster rainstorm from spewing raw sewage into basements and streets in April of last year. The lawsuit, which was later dropped, put water systems on notice that these extremes are the new normal their systems must be redesigned to manage.

Insurance companies are not alone in recognizing the costs of water infrastructure failure under extreme —> Read More Here


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