Weather events like record-setting droughts and storms that seem to increase in power and devastation can be seen as extreme. In 2017, five months after Hurricane Harvey brought record amounts of rain to Texas, many parts of the state were experiencing drought conditions. This is not only extreme weather, but extreme shifts of one type of weather to another in a short time frame.
How does extreme Weather affect the region?
Extreme weather affects the Southwestern Division's region in several ways. As waters rise, floods damage homes and businesses. Critical infrastructure is damaged or destroyed, which reduces safety in the area as roads and emergency services are unavailable. It often takes a great deal of time and money to recover. During and event, we transition from normal operations to emergency operations, often operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our water management team provides forecasts of what we expect will happen over the coming next several days or week at each of our projects. We work closely with our partners and stakeholders to try and minimize impacts.
Urbanization and Land Use Changes
As cities grow and land is developed, stormwater runoff increases. This increases the chance of flooding in many areas, causing the landscape to continually change. Regular flooding makes further development difficult. As the population in an area increases, so too does the demand for water. The sources of new water are not increasing as quickly. Aquifers are being tapped to their max and some have issues recharging enough for continued future use.
How will Integrated Water Resource Management address Extreme Weather?
Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) is a term that describes ideal water management. Working with our partners, federal, state, and local agencies, cities and civic groups, we can conserve water, so droughts aren't as devastating. By sharing food data, we can ensure people are not living in areas susceptible to routine flooding. Working together, we can reduce the risk of flooding to residents and businesses.