Initiatives address flood threat, climate change and national disaster resiliency
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released three new resiliency intiatives. Targeted to small and medium utilities, "Flood Resilience: A Basic Guide for Water and Wastewater Utilities" outlines a simple, four-step assessment process to help any water utility know their flooding threat and identify practical mitigation options to protect their critical assets. With a user-friendly layout, the guide provides worksheets, instructional videos, and flood maps to help utilities through the process. Drinking water and wastewater utilities are particularly vulnerable to flooding, which can damage pumps, disconnect chemical tanks, break distribution lines, and disrupt power supply. The Great Lakes Action Plan II identifies the major environmental threats to the Great Lakes ecosystem and describes the steps federal agencies will take over the next five years to manage those risks. The plan, organized around four themes, for the first time commits the federal government to develop and incorporate climate resiliency into its project selection process. Agencies will also be required to develop standard criteria to ensure climate resiliency in all Great Lakes Restoration Initiative-funded projects.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development also launched a $1 billion National Disaster Resilience Competition in partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation to help communities that have been devastated by natural disasters. The competition promotes risk assessment and planning and will fund implementation of innovative resilience projects to better prepare communities for future storms and other extreme events. Successful applicants will need to tie their proposals to the eligible disaster from which they are recovering. The competition is divided into two phases: 1) the framing phase and 2) the implementation phase. Applications for Phase 1 are due in March 2015. The National Disaster Resilience Competition is structured to guide applicants in the framing phase through consideration of their disaster recovery needs, vulnerabilities, stakeholder interests, resilience, and other community development investment alternatives. Final award announcements are expected in late 2015.