Millions of United States citizens continue to battle the effects of massive hurricanes this month. Many have lost electric and water service. As water and wastewater utilities struggle to get their systems up and running again, some are in a better position than others. What makes a utility more resilient in the face of this type of natural disaster?
83 percent of Puerto Ricans remain without power three weeks after Hurricane Maria hit the island. The goal is for 25 percent of customers to regain power by the end of October, but it could be months before the territory’s grid is fully operational again. Meanwhile, 36 percent of the island still does not have water service. Since energy is required to treat and deliver water, presumably the lack of power is standing in the way of getting some of those water systems back online. (Water, of course, is also needed to generate energy, but that’s a topic for another time.)
Sometimes, all you can do is scratch your head.
“Here’s the issue,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt told CNN last week when asked about the connection between Hurricane Irma and climate change, “To have any kind of focus on the cause and effect of the storm; versus helping people, or actually facing the effect of the storm, is misplaced.”
This week, our hearts are heavy and our thoughts are with everyone affected by Hurricane Harvey. As climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann wrote, “[W]e can’t say that Hurricane Harvey was caused by climate change. But it was certainly worsened by it.”
After leaving a path of destruction through parts of the Caribbean, Hurricane Irma's eye moved through the lower Florida Keys on Sunday morning. By midday, the National Hurricane Center reported the deadly Category 4 storm had begun to swing away from the Keys — and toward Florida's mainland.
Yes. Your streets are flooding more. As temperatures rise, rainfall in New Orleans - and elsewhere - is getting more intense.
Destiney Bell’s yard is flooded, and this isn’t the first time. Most storms turn Bell’s lawn into a lake, transforming her house on a busy New Orleans corner into an island of inconvenience. A half hour of heavy rain means that she wades through half a foot of water just to leave her house. Her roommate, a doctor, often worries that she won’t be able to get out of their flooded driveway and to get to work.