Los Angeles’s Floods Show Why Sewers Matter: Recent atmospheric rivers are a preview of what will become much more common as climate change accelerates.

The recent atmospheric river storm events are a reminder that many urban stormwater systems are outdated for the expected future of more intense storms. Surface level climate adaptation measures like levees and sea walls are designed to withstand 50- or 100-year floods that have a small chance of occurring each year. But storm drain systems under most residential roads typically can only manage a 5- or 10-year event and suffer deferred maintenance. Flooded roads and communities will become more common until this infrastructure issue is prioritized.

OPINION: California isn’t prepared for turbocharged storms like the ones we’re getting this week

Peter Gleick, hydroclimatologist, author, and senior fellow at the Pacific Institute in Oakland, opines that recent mega-storms show the immediate need to dramatically scale-up efforts to prepare California for both flooding and drought. We must adapt California’s water infrastructure to a current and projected climate regime rather than the hydrology of its past.

Tulare Lake Was Drained Off the Map. Nature Would Like a Word.

This year’s series of atmospheric rivers has revived Lake Tulare (once the largest freshwater later west of the Mississippi River), flooding out thousands of farmworkers and disrupting the agricultural industry in the Central Valley. Read more here: 

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/04/02/us/tulare-lake-california-storms.html (New York Times)