Ten Across Summit: Louisiana cities have to adapt to climate unpredictability

While Houston and New Orleans continue rebuilding from hurricanes Harvey and Katrina, local, state and federal agencies must change their focus from post-disaster recovery to pre-disaster mitigation, says Jeff Hebert, The Water Institute of the Gulf’s vice president for adaptation and resilience.

“There’s a continuous fight to ensure people understand what the challenges are and what kind of solutions actually help,” Hebert said at the Ten Across Water Summit at The Water Campus this morning.

Every year, the climate for cities along the Interstate 10 corridor is becoming increasingly unpredictable—a factor leaders need to keep in mind, says Cynthia Campbell, water resource management advisor for the city of Phoenix.

“It’s one thing to say we’re adapting for a new normal, but how do you adapt to a place where there is no normal?” asks Campbell.

To help adapt efficiently, Hebert says it’s important for leaders to base their decisions for the future on data instead of conjecture, as well as to consider nature-based options for water management, such as green and blue infrastructure, instead of just relying on engineered solutions.

“We’re going to get more precipitation, more flooding more frequently, and it’s going to be intense,” Hebert says.

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