State, federal officials discuss flood mitigation strategies during WATERS summit

State, federal officials discuss flood mitigation strategies during WATERS summit
Published: Oct. 12, 2022 at 5:34 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - From the Brunswick County beaches to the Cape Fear River, it’s no secret that flooding has changed the landscape of southeastern North Carolina in recent years.

Wednesday, state and federal leaders met in Wilmington to talk through ways to better prepare our state for future storms during the second annual WATERS (Water Adaptations to Ensure Regional Success) summit.

“Devastating inland and coastal flooding upends the livelihoods of families, businesses, and even entire communities,” North Carolina’s 7th Congressional District Representative David Rouzer said. “Collaboration between every level of government and private innovators is key to better prepare for the future.”

Officials say they want to be proactive when it comes to flood mitigation to help avoid future disasters; the state has already seen billions of dollars in damage since Hurricane Florence. Some towns, like Boiling Spring Lakes, are still working to fully recover.

“People are thinking now proactively, not just reactively, you know, so many people after the storms are affected with literally billions of loss of materials, of homes, and also personal loss. So, we’re really glad that folks are coming together to understand what a big thing this is for eastern North Carolina,” said Representative Greg Murphy.

Rouzer says he is focused on dredging waterways at the center of our area’s flooding issues, but understands bipartisan legislation can also make a big difference.

“We have rivers, creeks and streams that built up a lot of sediment, debris and other material over the years,” Rouzer said. “And so there’s a lot of components, you know, to this flooding issue. We need everybody to come together in a very meaningful way, working across disciplines to enact the change necessary to mitigate flooding in the future.”

The summit was held at the Wilmington Convention Center and attended by leaders from Wilmington, Burgaw, and across North Carolina.