Climate Change Water Crisis

Ready or not, Water Troubles are Coming

Written by Green Chip Stocks
Posted April 9, 2012 at 2:07PM

In a new state-by-state analysis of climate preparedness, 29 states were listed as unprepared for growing water threats to their economies and public health.

In the report titled “Ready or Not: An Evaluation of State Climate and Water Preparedness Planning”, which was conducted by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), researchers appraised each state on its level of preparedness on handling climate change-induced water problems.

These water problems, by the way, aren’t just limited to water supply and quality, either, as researchers surveyed economic damage caused by intense rainfall, flooding and extreme drought conditions.

According to the report, the states that have the most comprehensive adaptation plans are California, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The states that are least prepared, unfortunately, are far more numerous.

The report ranks each state on a scale from Category 1 being the best to Category 4 being the least prepared. The aforementioned states are all in Category 1. Category 4 states are as follows: Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Texas and Utah.

NRDC Water and Climate Program director Steve Fleischli explains the climate preparedness situation as such: “Rising temperatures and more extreme weather events are impacting our families, our health and our pocketbooks. Water is a matter of survival. It powers our lives and industries, and it keeps our natural systems healthy…This report is both a wake up call and a roadmap for all communities to understand how vital it is to prepare for climate change so we can effectively safeguard our most valuable resources.”

Some additional findings of the report include:

  • Nine out of ten states are poised for more frequent and more intense storm events that could bring about severe flooding.

  • Despite 36 states with possible water supply problems, only six have comprehensive adaptation plans.

  • 29 states have done little to nothing at all to prepare for water-related climate impacts.

  • Alabama, Indiana, Kansas, North Dakota, South Dakota and Ohio have done almost nothing to address climate pollution or prepare for climate change.

  • Water preparedness activities have stopped in four of nine best-prepared states: Alaska, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

  • Only 22 states have developed plans and set goals to reduce carbon emissions.