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Water Climate Equity Project

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The Appalachian mountains are blessed with abundant rain, but many people struggle to get water they can afford for their homes and businesses. Extreme weather events, such as floods and droughts, cause devastation and are becoming more frequent and unpredictable. All across our country people are concerned about the growing cost of water and sewage infrastructure. At present, millions of people lack access to good water and safe sewage services. When aging infrastructures need expensive repair, will those most in need get new resources?


In diverse places, people are coming together to take action to solve these problems of too much or too little water. New coalitions are forming among communities, and between communities, nonprofits, scholars, and government. Federal and state governments are offering new funds. As new money is dedicated to improve water infrastructure it is important that communities contribute to the design and implementation of plans. Communities have invaluable, first hand knowledge. Local residents know local realities - and - local residents have a direct stake in fair and affordable outcomes. When communities are ‘at the table’ when decisions are being made, they can help to craft solutions that work in diverse local contexts and are equitable for diverse stakeholders - especially those most vulnerable. 

The Water Climate Equity Project provides resources for local residents to come together to improve water and sewage systems to ensure that their communities and future generations have healthy, affordable, and dependable water, along with building resilience to withstand flooding and other extreme weather into water systems. The project also seeks to involve local residents in decision-making to ensure equitable solutions. Resources and convenings are provided for local documentation, community engagement, and regional knowledge exchange.


The Pacific Institute and Rural Community Assistance Partnership national research teams provide research and technical information documenting severe weather events, climate trends, and the impact of extreme weather events on water systems. Success stories from other regions are shared. The ultimate goal is to make sure community perspectives are included in the design and implementation of plans to improve water and sewage infrastructure. By addressing the water needs of these underserved communities, LiKEN Knowledge hopes to improve the health and well-being of the residents, and promote sustainable development in the region.

Cover of Issue Brief including a map of Appalachian sub-regions

Climate Change and Flooding in Central Appalachia

The authors present the observed and projected impacts of climate changes in Central Appalachia with a focus on increased extreme precipitation events and flooding on rural water systems and sanitation.

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