Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker has joined 45 other mayors and county officials from around the country who have committed to creating more resilient cities, towns and counties in response to our nation’s growing extreme weather and energy challenges.
As an Inaugural Signatory of the Resilient Communities for America campaign, Mayor Becker is among the first local elected officials in the nation to showcase his leadership on these key issues testing America’s communities.
The national campaign, which launched today, recognizes that local governments like Salt Lake City are on the front lines of responding to increasing disasters and disruptions fueled by a changing climate. An unprecedented increase in heat waves, droughts, floods, severe storms and wildfires have devastated communities nationwide over the past two years and cost America $188 billion in damages.
The Resilient Communities for America campaign seeks to champion the work of Mayor Becker, Salt Lake City and other local governments at the forefront of the emerging national movement to build resilience – and to inspire hundreds more to follow their lead. Every $1 spend on disaster risk reduction can save $4 in recovery and emergency response costs – make resilience efforts a sound investment for our community.
Local Impacts for Salt Lake City
- Long-term trends show that as warming occurs, less precipitation is falling as snow in surrounding watersheds, which means diminished snowpack water storage for Salt Lake City. In addition, recent climate studies show that the timing of water runoff will shift to earlier in the season, creating challenges during peak summer water demand.
- Increases in temperature and changes in precipitation will impact water supply and water demand. One recent study indicates that Salt Lake City’s watersheds in the Wasatch Mountain range could see an overall average of 3.8% reduction in stream flow per one degree Fahrenheit. Almost all of Salt Lake City’s water supply emanates from these local Wasatch Mountain watersheds.
- In recent years, trees in the urban forest are becoming more susceptible to disease due to warming.
- Lower precipitation and warmer temperatures are causing changes to forests and vegetation, increasing the danger of area wildfires, and increasing the threat of water quality degradation.
Local Actions Being Taken by Salt Lake City
- Long-term master plans for the city will incorporate likely future climate scenarios, including the City’s Water Resource Planning efforts.
- Infrastructure Planning: Roads, storm drains and other critical infrastructure will need to handle extreme weather events such as heat waves and greater storm intensity.
- Energy Security: To minimize energy demand, especially during heat waves, the City is focusing on energy efficiency upgrades, develop net zero buildings and expanding local renewable energy sources, such as solar PV and solar hot water systems.
- Efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions include energy efficiency projects and transit-oriented development projects to minimize vehicle trips.