Numerous political scientists hypothesized that the issues surrounding resource shortages would be the cause of conflict in the international political community in the 21st century. This, combined with the concerns surrounding climate change and global warming, have brought sustainable water issues and sustainability concepts to the forefront of the political agenda.
New ideas will continue to emerge in response to water conservation. A recent piece of legislation, the Water Resources Development Act, will greatly aid in water sustainability. And it will also impact emergency management.
It can be difficult, however, to evaluate specifically how policies will impact society. Policies are complicated and sometimes it is difficult to foresee all of the issues that may arise until the policy has run its course.
Water Resources Development Act
Recently, the Water Resources Development Act passed in the Senate. As discussed by NBC, the bill will assist in numerous infrastructure projects dealing with water throughout the nation.
The bill also “updates an existing coastal resiliency program to prioritize federal funds for projects in communities threatened by sea level rise while creating an interagency working group to coordinate data on sea level rise across federal agencies.”
Additionally, the bill will help to promote mitigation efforts as it requires that "the Federal Emergency Management Agency must establish a grant program to rehabilitate nonfederal dams posing an unacceptable risk to the public."
And the bill certainly has some important pieces that will support emergency management efforts well. Likely, it will close a few gaps that existed before the development of this bill.
While bills often close policy gaps in myriad ways, sometimes it is difficult to foresee just how policies will come to fruition. A policy can have great intentions within its development, but it can sometimes be difficult to predict how the policy will impact other programs in the political arena.
Where emergency management is concerned, this bill can help to close numerous gaps. But, it should also be noted that because disasters don’t happen all the time and are not identical to the disasters that came before it, it can be very difficult to identify where policy matters may be problematic. Further, the disaster may prove to only illuminate aspects of how the policy may not be effective for a given situation.
Ultimately, a policy has to run its course for the problematic aspects of it to be identified.
The Water Resources Development Act will likely help with some mitigation efforts – especially where dams are concerned. Water conservation will continue to be an important policy issue, especially in the 21st century.
While this particular bill will have certain implications in emergency management, it will not be an isolated time where water conservation efforts intersect with emergency management policies.