Preparing Your Community for Water Extremes

As the climate changes, local decision makers need public support and resources to prepare for, manage and reduce the impacts of local flooding and drought. Although climate change impacts everyone, the burden will not be shared equally. This problem is accelerating, and the cost of not acting will only rise. Now is the time to prepare your community.

Read the video transcript

In this topic you will learn

  1. Are weather patterns changing?

  2. How do flooding and drought impact my community?

  3. What can I do to prepare for future flooding and drought conditions?



Green infrastructure projects can be installed on school property, where they can reduce flooding and provide an opportunity for students to gain hands-on experience with environmental topics and solutions.

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Economic Development

Weather and climate disasters cost the U.S. billions of dollars in property damage each year. Flooding in the Chesapeake Bay watershed cost the agriculture industry $752.6 million from 1995-2020.

A dollar sign, indicating economic development.

Public Health and Safety

Low-income families are more likely to live in flood zones and less likely to have flood insurance. Only 26% of insured houses within the 100-year floodplain nationally are low-income households.

A heart and a plus sign, indicating public health and safety.

Infrastructure Maintenance and Finance

Periodic or sustained drought affects most regions in the U.S., including the Chesapeake watershed. Drought in the U.S. is projected to become more frequent and more intense, resulting in conflicts over water use and increasing vulnerability of infrastructure and communities.

A house, indicating infrastructure.

Case Studies You'll Find Inside

Great Dismal Swamp


Drought Creates Fire-friendly Conditions

In 2011, drought dried the plants and soil in Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. When lightning struck, a fire began that burned for 111 days and cost $12.5 million to fight. It produced copious smoke, endangering the health of those living near the refuge.

An aerial view of a wildfire burning at the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, producing a large cloud of smoke. (Greg Sanders/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Here's How You Can Help

An icon with a blue arrow bent at a downward right angle and a green arrow coming out of the vertical branch, indicating flexibility. Adopt a community resilience plan.
An icon of a closed blue book with a green tree in the bottom right corner, indicating environmental rules, policies or learning opportunities. Consider resilience in all future planning.
An icon of three people, two blue and one green. Encourage flood safety and preparedness.

Learn More About This Topic


Hear experts discuss the challenges that climate change presents, as well as our efforts to adapt to climate change and mitigate its worst effects.


Learn how planners in southern New York are collaborating across jurisdictional lines to take a holistic, watershed approach to mitigate flooding.

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