Why Texas Needs a Resiliency Plan (Source: Houston Business Journal)
By Wayne Swafford
Earlier this year, Winter Storm Uri forced more than 3.5 million people in Texas to go without electricity. Millions didn’t have heat for several days. The loss of power caused water pipes to freeze and burst, disrupting water service for nearly 15 million people. In June, the Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 3 requiring all affected water utilities to prepare and implement an Emergency Preparedness Plan.
We are now facing another hurricane season that is expected to be more active than normal, according to the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration. Last month, the United Nations released a climate change report calling it a “code red for humanity” and warned that extreme weather events will worsen in the coming decades.
Given this scenario, public works agencies at the local, county and state levels are grappling with how they can make their facilities more resilient during extreme weather. Resiliency, as we define it in our firm, is the ability of infrastructure to withstand short-term weather emergencies, as well as the ability to adapt to evolving climate conditions for the long term. To build an infrastructure resiliency plan, I suggest the following four-step approach:
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