SEWRPC Takes A Pass On Assertive Climate Change Plan
The Southeastern Regional Planning Commission is midway through an historic water supply study for the seven counties in its domain, and has said it would fold climate change into the study.
Makes sense: there are few more pressing scientific and social issues facing planners and experts today because of measurable increases in world temperatures.
But a draft document that makes up a portion of the water supply study handed out at last week's water supply advisory committee meeting suggests that SEWRPC isn't aggressively focused on climate change and its impact on the region's water supplies.
At the end of what SEWRPC labels "Chapter VII: Water Supply Problem Identification And Issues To Be Resolved," the agency concludes that there's too much uncertainty in climate change data and its interpretations for conclusions, let alone a bold, pro-active plan.
"...it was concluded," say the drafters," that there is practical (sic) no way to make the effects of climate change quantitatively operational in the development of the regional water supply plan. Rather, it was determined to consider the issue by developing a recommended water supply plan which is flexible and adaptable to change."
In other words: change is happening, but it's a big, murky subject.
So let's plan for climate changes - - with a plan that can change.
Is that the best that SEWRPC can offer us?
Aren't all plans subject to change, unless they're issued by some sort of dictatorial Planners Star Chamber?
Are we getting a predictive, useful regional water supply plan - - or a planning tautology?
Same story on the SEWRPC Regional Water Quality Plan for the SE Region. Global warming is mentioned as an issue, but not used to guide planning. Increasing volatility of storms could cause serious impacts on our sewage treatment and drinking water infrastructure and treatment processes. Dropping water levels in area streams means less dilution of waste products being dumped into them (aka less assimilative capacity)and vast impairments of water quality and wildlife habitat. We need to start planning for these problems now--not in 10 or 20 more years.
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