New York City’s Future Is Very, Very Wet

Oct 12, 2021

New York City saw it coming. In May, in the kind of clarifying document that invariably gets noticed when it’s too late, the city mapped out the sort of devastation that Hurricane Ida would bring just a few months later.


The message of the New York City Stormwater Resiliency Plan is that, weatherwise, the scale of everything has changed. The city’s current infrastructure — its roads, subway tunnels, sewer systems, storm drains — is not built to withstand the climate-related ravages to come. As a result, the report states, capital investments “provide diminishing returns, as it becomes more and more challenging to treat the large volumes of stormwater released in extreme events.”

Ida put an exclamation point on realities that New York was already grappling with. Like other parts of the world, the report notes, the city is confronting not just calamitous extreme events like the inundations of Ida. It’s the drip, drip of “the chronic worsening of average conditions.”

Back To Top