Task force sets out to improve DC’s flood readiness

D.C.’s multiagency flood task force will spend the next year developing plans for extreme wet weather and its impact on residents and infrastructure, with heavy rainfall events likely to grow worse amid shifting climate patterns.

The Flood Task Force for the District of Columbia — established by City Administrator Kevin Donahue in the aftermath of dramatic flash flooding on Sept. 10, 2020 — will produce a report including action plans for repairing flood damage in low-income homes and vulnerable neighborhoods, responding to sewer line backups, flood-proofing buildings and developing flood-mitigating infrastructure.

“The Sept. 10 storm underscored the growing risk of severe flooding due to climate change and the urgency to do something about it,” said Tommy Wells, who leads the city’s energy and environment department.

“Things are only going to get worse due to shifting global temperatures and weather patterns, and we need to work together to protect and prepare our residents and our city in every way possible.”

The task force, which includes 13 agencies and 15 consulting organizations collaborating to strengthen the city’s flood response, reports to the Deputy Mayor for Operations and Infrastructure and is jointly co-chaired by the Department of Energy and Environment’s director and DC Water’s CEO.

“The mayor and city administrator recognize it is going to take a village to identify and address the causes of flooding in the District,” DC Water CEO David Gadis said.

“To that end, it is great to see so many agencies and stakeholder organizations come together today, ready to roll up their sleeves to tackle this persistent problem.”

Alejandro Alvarez

Alejandro Alvarez joined WTOP as a digital reporter and editor in June 2018. He is a writer and photojournalist focusing on politics, political activism and national affairs, with recent multimedia contributions to Reuters, MSNBC and PBS.

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