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Resilience Means Going Beyond Recovery

Emily Simonson, Senior Manager, Strategy and Special Projects, US Water Alliance | May 17, 2019

Becoming climate resilient is about so much more than recovering from or preparing for the latest natural disaster. No doubt about it, devastating events like Hurricane Harvey reignite public fervor to push for funding and programs to build more resilient communities. Pundits and policymakers alike clamber to understand who needs emergency relief, how and when the community can rebuild, how everyone should prepare for the next storm, and the associated price tag of these efforts.

But, places like Houston are taking their experiences and demonstrating why resilience is a project that reaches far beyond the bounds of disaster and into the every-day fabric of a community. Today is day six of Infrastructure Week 2019, and on behalf of the Value of Water Campaign, I am so excited to interview Carol Haddock, Director of Houston Public Works, at Infrastructure Week’s Southeastern Summit.

Carol plays an important role in building a more resilient Houston – after all, the effects of climate change will be felt the most through the water cycle. Efforts like the North Canal Project give rising waters more places to flow safely, and adding more gates to the Lake Houston Dam give the city more flood control options.

Carol also knows that building a resilient Houston goes beyond Houston’s water infrastructure. That is why Houston Public Works is collaborating across city departments with planners, transportation professionals, neighborhood groups, and more to look at resilience holistically. Whether the risk is sea level rise, rising temperatures, or more storms, Houston can best adapt by seizing the many opportunities available through integrated and inclusive urban planning. Planning that includes the considerations and voices of the most vulnerable helps steer funds to benefit those who often get hit first and worst. With inclusive, cross-sector planning happening on a city-wide scale, Houston is on its way to becoming a successful example for the nation.

Follow along and join the conversation using #BuildforTomorrow.