Michigan’s infrastructure is crumbling — literally. Michigan has witnessed a troubling decline in the condition of its aging infrastructure, including its roads, water, and energy systems, and the tangible effects of climate change through increased flooding, heatwaves, and severe storms have placed additional stress on these already fragile systems. Addressing the interplay between deteriorating infrastructure and the impact of climate change has become a pressing issue for residents and policymakers alike. These challenges raise urgent questions about how to modernize and fortify critical infrastructure in the face of an evolving climate landscape.
The Citizens Research Council of Michigan believes it has the answers. The council has released its latest findings in the fourth of a series of five reports, in partnership with the nonprofit Altarum, titled “Michigan’s Path to a Prosperous Future: Challenges and Opportunities.” The reports are helping to inform Michigan’s new Growing Michigan Together Council, announced by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at the 2023 Mackinac Policy Conference. The council’s latest report explores the multiple challenges, several of which are amplified by climate change, involved with rebuilding and maintaining the state’s infrastructure, as well as remediating and protecting the environment.
In Southeast Michigan specifically, the effects of climate change on Michigan’s weather, with warmer winters and springs and heavier rains causing more destructive storms, have overwhelmed the region’s water systems. With the impacts of climate change at the forefront, what it will take to address the stress on the state’s current water infrastructure in the face of increasingly extreme weather events in the future?
Chuck Hersey, Senior Policy Advisor for OHM Advisors, a company that works with the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) on addressing regional challenges, including those connected with water infrastructure talks with “One Detroit” producer and Future of Work host Will Glover. They talk about the process of water getting to our homes, coordination between organizations that handle different sectors of infrastructure, the need to invest in infrastructure repair, and the increased funding it will likely take to replace Southeast Michigan’s water infrastructure.
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Watch One Detroit Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. ET on Detroit Public TV on Detroit Public TV, WTVS-Channel 56.