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“Proactive Water Management Policy for Vulnerable Communities: Equity in Practice”

Author: Mateo Baker

Department: UIC Institute for Policy & Civic Engagement

Advisor: Dr. Joseph K. Hoereth, IPCE

Abstract: In 2023, the total cost of flooding and severe storm related damages in the United States amounted to $63.4 billion. Flooding events, caused by increased precipitation due to climate change, test the dependability of aging drainage systems in cities. These disasters often disproportionately affect socially vulnerable populations because of underlying inequities. Recent literature on water management policy discusses equity and data-driven decision making. This research will determine how water management policy can be implemented to ensure more equitable flooding infrastructure throughout communities of color, by investigating Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) initiatives in Chicago. This study recommends that GSI initiatives employ the following mechanisms to build a fair and resilient water system: (1) education & workforce development programs, (2) price controls surrounding the implementation site, (3) prioritizing equity & transparency in the gathering of data, and (4) community driven planning.

Keywords: Climate Equity, Community resiliency, Environmental Justice (EJ), Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI), Just Transition, Frontline Communities,