We promote practical changes in the way people manage water as a resource, changes that are good for residents, good for businesses, and good for the environment. Our solutions provide effective, replicable blueprints for water management and services. We also propose legislation and build alliances to promote more efficient and sustainable policies and practices.
The way we build cities makes them flood, even in modest rainstorms, because asphalt and concrete prevent rainwater from soaking into the ground. We call this urban flooding. Through programs like our RainReady℠ initiative, we help homeowners and municipalities save money by installing green infrastructure solutions like rain gardens and bioswales for stormwater management.
Too much water isn’t the only problem communities need to address to become more resilient. Many of the pipes that carry our drinking water are old and crumbling, causing us to lose trillions of gallons of expensive, treated water every year. Our research has made the case for fixing the leaks, and we promote policy and partnerships to help utilities adopt innovative practices to save our precious water resources.
How does this affect you? Our work has shown that:
- There’s no correlation between urban flooding and living in a floodplain. Flooding can happen anywhere.
- Across the country, we lose 2.1 trillion gallons of treated drinking water a year to aging, crumbling pipes.
- Both urban flooding and water loss exact huge societal costs. Billions of dollars are lost each year because of inadequate stormwater and drinking water management, and the litter and toxins picked up by floodwaters in the streets often end up polluting lakes and streams.
- Urban flooding disproportionately affects lower-income communities, and being affected by flooding can send people into poverty.
- Heavy rainstorms, major droughts, and other serious weather events are becoming more frequent and more severe, so the problems of urban flooding and water loss will continue getting worse.
- It will take an unprecedented collaboration between agencies that work on stormwater management to deal with urban flooding – a collaboration that our RainReady program is facilitating.