Preparing Rural Water Systems for Extreme Weather and Climate Disasters

Research Report

Preparing Rural Water Systems for Extreme Weather and Climate Disasters

Lessons from South Texas and Winter Storm Uri

Abstract

As extreme weather and climate disasters become more frequent, the nation’s basic infrastructure is increasingly vulnerable to service disruptions and failure. Most US water systems serve 10,000 customer connections or fewer and can lack the needed resources and capacity to adequately plan and prepare for these disasters, let alone respond to and recover from them. To improve rural water system resiliency to extreme weather disasters, we examine the experiences of two rural water systems in south Texas affected by Winter Storm Uri in February 2021 and suggest strengthening supports for ongoing system maintenance and improving planning and expanding outreach. 

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