Rural Water Prepares for Hurricane Impact along the Southeastern US
In preparation of Hurricane Florence’s landfall, National Rural Water Association (NRWA) and its State Associations stand ready to assist with water and wastewater systems’ emergency needs.
Hurricane Florence is predicted to be the most powerful storm to hit the Carolinas in three decades that will bring high winds, heavy rainfall and massive flooding.
“If the storm track of Hurricane Florence continues as predicted, significant damage to rural communities could occur,” Sam Wade, NRWA CEO stated. “Water and wastewater operations specialists, circuit riders and other experienced professionals are prepared to work diligently and safely to restore systems that provide reliable water resources to Rural America.”
NRWA and its State Associations annually train for disasters like Hurricane Florence. NRWA has focused on improving Rural Water’s emergency response capabilities since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. This training has focused on all aspects of emergency preparedness, from planning and management, to loading and unloading heavy equipment, to connecting emergency generators.
The State Associations will utilize this educational training and previous experience to develop detailed plans and assess potentially impacted areas and systems. Emergency Response teams have already begun preparations by coordinating personnel, equipment and supplies as the storm approaches.
NRWA and State Associations have helped with disaster recovery and relief every time the need has arisen. Last year hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria brought widespread destruction to the Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Rural Water Associations received high praise for its quick response and ability to provide emergency assistance.
NRWA is still working with its States Associations and federal agencies for continued efforts in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to provide ongoing support and long-term planning.
National and State Rural Water Associations have established an emergency response network where states impacted by disasters can rely on other State Associations to provide emergency response assistance in the form of manpower and equipment.
State Rural Water Associations have developed mutual aid agreements with multiple agencies and industry partners to facilitate the network of “utilities helping utilities” in responding to and recovering from emergencies.