Infrastructure is what makes our cities function. Whether it be the roads we drive on, the sidewalks we walk on, or the pipes that bring us clean drinking water, infrastructure consists of the physical structures and facilities that keep our community going. Strong infrastructure systems also keep us and our environment healthy by cleaning our drinking water and treating stormwater as it leaves our pipes.
Climate change is increasingly putting our infrastructure systems under threat. As it gets hotter, our electrical grid must meet increasing energy demands. As our cities grow, our roads see more wear and tear, a process exacerbated by temperature fluctuations between hot and cold. Climate change is also leading to stronger storms, higher sea levels, and more extreme precipitation events.
Together, all of these changes mean that our infrastructure must change too. Beverly and Salem will create a resilient infrastructure system by improving stormwater management and wastewater treatment facilities, implementing green infrastructure, maintaining our bridges, roads, and sidewalks through twenty-first century asset management systems, and creating new financing mechanisms to ensure the long-term sustainability of infrastructural investments.
Impervious surfaces (streets, sidewalks, parking lots) are surfaces that allow little or no storm water infiltration into the ground, and are the main contributor to flooding and storm water runoff. In Beverly, 23% of surfaces are impervious, and in Salem, 63%.
Replacing roads, parking lots, and sidewalks with landscaping and vegetation can mitigate the urban heat island effect and reduce localized flooding by capturing stormwater.
Salem and Beverly use approximately 3.5 billion gallons of drinking water per year. This water is drawn from a complex system of connected reservoirs and pump stations that draw water from the Ipswich River during the rainy season. Processing and transporting this water takes energy, and by reducing wasteful water consumption, the Cities can meet their emissions reduction targets while also conserving water supply.
Water and Energy
Pumping Water Takes Energy!
Salem has higher GHG emissions because it has to pump water further from the Wenham Lake Reservoir than Beverly does. Reducing water consumption can help the cities meet their emission reduction targets while also conserving water supply,
Reducing Climate Threats
Reducing impervious, paved areas like sidewalks and asphalt and replacing them with permeable surfaces like porous concretes, is one way that cities can reduce their stormwater management burdens by enabling water to be reabsorbed into the ground. Pairing these upgrades with other biological functions of green infrastructure like rain gardens and tree pits can help improve water quality and reduce urban heat island effect.