The Rhode Island Department of Health did a comprehensive analysis to figure out which drinking water sources are most vulnerable to climate change to help water suppliers plan for the future. Rhode Island Public Radio’s environmental reporter Ambar Espinoza sat down with the June Swallow, chief of the Office of Drinking Water Quality at the state health department. She oversees the project called SafeWater Rhode Island.
With more than 500 public drinking water suppliers in the state, the Rhode Island Department of Health is worried about how they will cope with climate-related changes like intense rains, rising seas, and warmer temperatures. For the next installment of our series, Battle With The Sea, environmental reporter Ambar Espinoza heads to Newport, home to one of the most vulnerable drinking water supplies in the state when it comes to climate change.
The University of Rhode Island, in partnership with the Coastal Resources Management Council, has developed new tools to plan for future climate change threats. New maps with projected storm surge and sea level rise are now available online.
U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse says the new climate change deal between the U.S. and China is good news for Rhode Island.
The U.S. is committing to reducing carbon emissions 28 percent by 2025.
Whitehouse sais though Rhode Island is not a major carbon polluting state, it’s already feeling the effects of climate change. “Particularly with rising sea levels, Narragansett Bay is 3 to 4 degrees warmer, the winter flounder catch has virtually collapsed,” said Whitehouse.
Coastal communities have a new tool available for wetland restoration projects. The Coastal Resources Management Council released new maps that show how rising sea levels will affect salt marshes.
Rhode Island has lost more than half of its salt marshes to coastal development. The state will lose more with frequent coastal flooding due to rising sea levels. Marshes play important roles as storm buffers, nurseries for fish and birds, and as filters for polluted runoff.