Does Delaying Decisions on Infrastructure Help Us?
If you live on an island, and your groundwater table is tidal, what should your datum be for storm water planning purposes? Average tide? High tide? Seasonal high tide? If you are the local official with this problem, what do you do, realizing that the difference from mean tide and seasonal high tide (when most flooding occurs) is 1.5 feet? Realizing that property and infrastructure is at much higher risk for periodic inundation, does the failure to address the problem indicate a lack of willingness, understanding, hope or leadership? We see all four responses among local officials, but the “head in the sand” mode is the most curious. It’s tough challenges that often define leaders. With sea level rise, there is time to plan, construct infrastructure in stages, arrange funding, and lengthen the life of infrastructure and property. Meanwhile, those insurers, banks and the public we talked about in a prior blog wait and watch.
This outline with the reference to the tide rising and falling and the planning for a substantial storm is a reference to the bigger picture of the failing water and wastewater infrastructure. You can plan for the ultimate storm and it may never happen but in the case of water and wastewater infrastructure it is failing everyday and without the proper steps taken to rehab or replace what exists now we our going to be caught behind and the storm will happen. With the population increasing and the demands on the systems unless we act not we will be too far behind to catch up. With the push by an individual to help people understand the aging and failing infrastructure and help them understand that the infrastructure needs to be upgraded and expanded to meet the needs of today.