The city of Alameda is an island community in the San Francisco
Bay Area that faces an existential threat from sea level rise.
The city responded to this challenge by developing a cutting-edge
Climate Action and Resiliency Plan, including a roadmap for
a “Climate Safe Path,” in which Alameda aggressively reduces its
own greenhouse gas emissions as well as raise climate
Upgrading local streets and roads is critical to
communities, and many projects were well underway when the
pandemic hit in early 2020. Thanks to the innovation, dedication,
and creativity of local officials, the projects were not only
completed, but received statewide recognition through the 2021
Outstanding Local Streets and Roads Project Awards.
One of the primary points of contention between cities and water
boards has been the cost of achieving water quality goals – the
water boards have steadily imposed more restrictive requirements
in municipal National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System
permits, while expecting cities and counties alone to bear the
costs. This article covers two court decisions affecting
cities and the key takeaways for local government officials.
Looking ahead at growing population demands, many cities are
embarking on infrastructure modernization projects to ensure
water reliability. They are also taking a long view and designing
these projects with climate change in mind. As droughts and
warmer temperatures become more common, cities are on the front
lines working to ensure their constituents have a sustainable
source of water now and into the future.
As city leaders worked around the clock to lead their communities
through a global pandemic, they also dealt with devastating
budget shortfalls that forced cuts in local services and delays
in much-needed infrastructure projects. However, we are beginning
to see light at the end of the tunnel. The supply of vaccine
doses is growing, eligibility is expanding, and assistance for
cities in the recently enacted American Rescue Plan is on the
way. Cities will now have resources to begin to recover and
rebuild from the pandemic.