Dr. Graciela Ramirez-Toro will be giving a talk Friday, April 5th at 12:50PM in Mann Hall, Room 304 . She is the Institutional Director Center for Environmental Education, Conservation and Research Inter American University of Puerto Rico (CECIA-IAU). Please see the abstract for seminar, “Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Vulnerability to Hydrological Climatic Extreme Events.”
Water and wastewater infrastructure are among the first and likeliest venues to feel the effects of climate change and in those venues the effects are most likely to be severe. Dr. Ramírez-Toro will present historical anthropogenic changes to stream flow, water quality, agriculture and vegetative cover and their effects, both actual and as perceived by residents, on human habitation and politicosocial stressors. Among the actual effects are increased risks of waterborne and water-washed diseases, reduced velocities in streams due to occlusion, changes in watersheds, reduced species diversity and loss of arable land area. Dr. Ramírez-Toro illustrates each of these and suggests how earlier implementation of some of US EPA’s planning materials (particularly Priorities for Managing Freshwater Resources in a Changing Climate) could have reduced stresses in the area and would help prepare areas such as this for the effects of climate change. For example, establishing a planning process focused on local conditions, improved sharing of local water information and strengthened vulnerability assessments would have mitigated physical effects and reduced psychosocial stress from Hurricane Maria.