Charleston working on climate change strategies, fighting flooding

VIDEO: Charleston working on climate change strategies, fighting flooding

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - As Charleston continues to grow in population, city leaders say they need to adapt with better energy saving programs and flood combating strategies.

The city’s Resiliency and Sustainability Advisory Committee says they are meeting Thursday to discuss how they can reduce greenhouse gas emission in the city.

The City of Charleston’s Director of Sustainability Katie McKain says the committee is working on updating its Climate Action Plan based on recent data from a greenhouse gas emissions inventory.

“The future action plan is likely to include electric cars and electric charging stations, amongst many other initiatives that will help reduce emissions and address our most pressing concern from climate change, flooding,” McKain said.

The city says they are working on plans to bring in more energy efficient electric vehicles for city transport.

McKain also says they want to bring in more electric charging stations in the city, bolstering The Climate Action Plan’s encouragement of alternate transportation.

For example, McKain says they are adding more bike storage areas at businesses and requiring more business to have these in the future.

The city says that either they would be paid for the storage or it would be provided through grants.

The planning process for the project has already started and McKain says it will last throughout the fall and potentially winter.

She added that since this will be a public process, Charlestonians will be asked to provide input so that they can collectively determine what steps make most sense for the city’s mitigation of climate change.

Info on the public comment period will be released once the plan is more organized, but McKain says Thursday’s noon meeting is open to the public.

The meeting will be held over Zoom and McKain says information on how to join is at the bottom of the city’s agenda center webpage.

City of Charleston working to combat heavy rainfall

While implementing electric vehicles and encouraging other modes of transportation is designed to help fight climate change in the long term, McKain says the city is also working on how to combat flooding in the present.

Flood planning in Charleston is an on-going and pressing question for the city and McKain says Charleston recently underwent an extensive study called the Dutch Dialogues for ideas on how to improve the city’s preparedness.

The City of Charleston says they wants people to be aware of and responsible for the rain generated on their land. They say the city needs to address the increasingly frequent and heavy rainfall. The city’s Resiliency and Sustainability Advisory Committee says just increasing the size of stormwater drains is not enough anymore.

Director of Sustainability Katie McKain suggests commercial and residential property owners capture rainfall on their own properties.

“Charleston Rainproof is about us, the whole community, working together toward a common goal of addressing increasingly frequent and heavy rainfall,” McKain said.

The Charleston Rainproof project says residents can do this by installing rain barrels, water absorbent planters, pervious pavement, retention ponds and basement pumps in their homes.

The city says they have already launched a pilot program for rainproof and they hope it will grow overtime to become as prominent as their Dutch model.
The city says they have already launched a pilot program for rainproof and they hope it will grow overtime to become as prominent as their Dutch model. (Source: City of Charleston)

McKain says this is all inspired by a Rainproof Program in Amsterdam, which is explained in detail in the Dutch Dialogues.

The city says they have already launched a pilot program for rainproof and they hope it will grow overtime to become as prominent as their Dutch model.

The Resiliency and Sustainability Advisory Committee says they believe that this will create and infuse a culture of citizen awareness, responsibility and action toward water management.

City of Charleston Chief Resiliency Officer Mark Wilbert predicts that in the next 10 or 12 years these water retention uses will be a requirement to build in the city.

The Resiliency and Sustainability Advisory Committee says the public is invited to join and speak Thursday during a public comment period built into their 11 a.m. zoom meeting.

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