Flooding no longer just an issue for people living right on the water, councilors say

The Boston City Council agreed today to begin looking into ways to deal with flooding that go beyond requiring developers along the waterfront to take into account increased flooding due to climate change and sea-level rise.

Councilor Michelle Wu (at large), who proposed hearings on the subject, said much of Boston is vulnerable to potential flooding, including along the Charles, the Neponset and the Mother Brook and that the city needs to look at both how to minimize problems - and to help property owners retrofit their homes and buildings. In her request for a hearing, she writes it's vital to begin figuring out how to pay for it all:

Funding for additional major infrastructure projects will be needed to adapt and protect the city from increasingly frequent flooding, including the potential for a major seawall in Boston Harbor, reconstruction of roadways, and renovation of many homes where residents cannot afford the entire cost of adaptation.

Wu and councilor Josh Zakim pointed to the Jan. 4 blizzard and how quickly roads filled with water as an early warning sign of the need for action:

"This is not an abstraction," Zakim said. "This is not something that will happen to our children or grandchilren, this is happening right now." And the federal government, he said, plans on doing nothing.

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