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Upcoming Events

March 4-19, Eastern NC: Walk To Protect Our People And The Places Where We Live
Join APPPL for a Walk along the NC ACP route. The walk will begin in Northampton County, and end in Richmond County near Hamlet. Details.

Weigh in on closure plans for Riverbend Steam Station: March 16, 6PM (sign up to speak at 5:30PM) at Gaston College, Myers Auditorium, 201 Hwy. U.S. 321, Dallas.

March 26, 9AM-4PM, UNC Asheville: western NC stream volunteer training. RSVP to (828) 357-7411 / $15-20 Donation requested, but not required. View more information.

March 27, 6-8PM, Boone: Water Justice Forum. Sponsored by Department of Sustainable Development and the Sustainability and Environmental Education Club at ASU. Presentations by Dr. Kelsey Pieper, VA Tech, and Katie Hicks, CWFNC. Details.

“Climate Justice” Will Make Us Think in New Ways about Water Justice

Falls Lake drought

Falls Lake during the 2007-2008 drought.

By Jenn Weaver, Water & Energy Justice Organizer

Climate change is here, and many communities are now grappling with how to be more resilient to the challenges these environmental changes will bring. The concept of “Climate Justice”, like Environmental Justice, maintains that vulnerable communities – communities of color, poor communities, rural communities – are going to suffer the effects of climate change most quickly and deeply unless real effort goes into preventing or mitigating those unequal effects. What are the climate change impacts on water likely to be? Drought, sea level rise, storm water flooding, extreme heat or cold, salt contamination of drinking water, high prices for water, food and energy– all of these are possible, or even likely, outcomes of climate change that North Carolina is going to face or, in some cases, already is facing.

Princeville Hurricane Floyd

Princeville, NC was mostly underwater when Hurricane Floyd hit in 1999.

Clean Water for NC is taking a look at how North Carolina communities will be affected, and the steps that need to be taken to ensure water justice in the face of climate change in our state. To understand the job that faces local governments and the communities they are sworn to protect, we will harken back to hurricane Floyd in 1999 and to the drought of 2007 to reflect on how vulnerable communities were harmed, and lessons learned from those events. We will also explore the challenges local governments face in making the necessary adjustments to policies and operations. For example, all North Carolinians must have access to clean and affordable drinking water, so local governments will need to charge enough for water service to keep up with infrastructure requirements – not just for expansions, but for replacing and repairing broken or leaky pipes that waste this increasingly precious resource. What kind of pricing system will encourage conservation, keep up with infrastructure needs, and remain affordable for those low income residents? When large numbers of wells are contaminated by storm flooding, will state and local governments be prepared to provide safe replacement water supply?

We will examine these questions and more – be on the lookout for our report on climate impacts on water justice in North Carolina in the coming weeks!

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