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  Civil Works Strategic Plan

Increases in Extreme Weather

The frequency and intensity of droughts and inland and tropical storms are projected to increase, as are rapid swings between the two weather extremes. Sea level rise and subsidence will increase the risk of coastal flooding.

A Decade of Extreme Weather

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. 

Water is very dynamic and used in almost everything we do. Unfortunately, most of us don't consider that every drop of water is connected. We do little to manage water quality and quantity in a holistic manner. Integrated Water Resource Management is an approach to understand water systems and drive policies and everyday usage to maximize multiple-use potential and ensure future sustainability. 

Water is a system with multiple inputs and outputs. Recognizing the interconnected nature of water allows us to extend the resource. Integrated Water Resource Management brings different organizations with different water uses together to see how they can collaborate and maximize water use. In its simplest form, Integrated Water Resource Management looks at all water needs and finds a way to meet those needs using the least amount of water. We see this with cities that regulate and establish natural buffers around waterways to help reduce flooding, improve water quality, and improve aquatic habitat. We se it in developments that use water-catch systems so rainwater can be used to water the grass and landscaping.

We need everyone to think about their water needs and usage as a connected system. When we look at water as a system, we can begin to look at how the system can meet multiple needs at once. In addition, water resource agencies as well as local and state governments can share data, information, and planning documents with one another to assess potential mutual benefits of water management. When we recognize water is constantly being used and reused as it moves through its system, we can develop plans that makes its multiple purposes most effective.

We want to work with you in solving complex water resource issues. Reach out to us today! Let us know what your agency, city, state, group, or community can do it help.

Strategic Response Plan

Civil Works Strategic Plan