- Frustrated by political gridlock in Washington, D.C., over climate change policy, cities and states are changing infrastructure on their own to counteract severe weather that is killing more people and destroying more property.
- Dubuque, Iowa, has exhumed a buried creek to reduce storm flooding. Southern Nevada is digging new intake pipes under Lake Mead to offset drought. Keene, N.H., is replacing roads with permeable pavement that allows heavy rain to seep through instead of rising.
- Adaptation is best planned by municipalities because solutions must be tailored to local problems, but courageous leaders are often needed to rally support.
For a century workers flocked to Dubuque, Iowa, as they raised new generations of laborers, they built houses, shops and streets that eventually covered over the Bee Branch Creek. The water gurgled through underground pipes out of sight and largely out of memory.
Until the rains came. On May 16, 1999, 5.6 inches of rain fell in 24 hours. The creek pipes and storm sewers overflowed, blowing out manhole covers and turning streets into chest-deep raging rivers. Hundreds of homes and businesses were flooded.