Municipal governments are responsible for many services. In many locations, they have to handle public education, creating and running enough schools for all children living in their borders to get a free and full education from kindergarten all the way up to the 12th grade. Law enforcement is another service commonly provided, as local police direct traffic, catch speeders, investigate crimes that are reported, and respond to emergency calls. Fire protection and emergency medical services are also included, and commonly so too are things like animal control, building regulations, and zoning ordinances. Many local governments also handle public parks and libraries.
The primary intention and purpose of government is the protection of people, lives, and property. One understated thing that many municipal governments have to handle is that of managing stormwater. Municipal governments are typically defined as towns, cities, and counties. That makes them responsible for the water supply, sewage, and drainage systems of the territory that they have responsibility and authority over.
While some parts of the country have abundant access to clean water or water that can be made clean enough for human consumption and bathing, it’s not true everywhere, especially in arid climates, places out West, or anywhere going through drought conditions. Interestingly, managing stormwater that’s headed out can be just as crucial in importance.
Some cities try and direct stormwater towards reservoirs so they can keep as much of the local rainfall as they can as a supply of drinking water. These reservoirs can also serve as recreational places that draw in tourist dollars and high property values along the shorelines. If they’re dammed up by a hydroelectrical station, they can even be a place where electricity is generated.
Of course, this only happens if the stormwater actually gets to the reservoir or river in question. There needs to be enough infrastructure in place to get stormwater out of the way of people and property and to some place safe as quickly as possible. Such infrastructure can be expensive depending on how immense it is, and yet stormwaters that are allowed to stay in place can wreak serious havoc on local infrastructure.
Sewage pipes might back up and start creating unhealthy conditions in places where there are people. Flooding can damage property lots and even cause millions of dollars to damage to buildings that just shouldn’t have suffered it in the first place. Pets and animals can drown, and people who aren’t smart about flood waters can get swept away. Expensive and risky rescues aren’t always successful.
That’s just the immediate damages and risks. Soil that gets soaked can’t absorb any more water if there is more rain in the near future, and depending on the terrain, there might be serious erosion that makes flooding worse later on. Even in dry conditions, when topsoil is washed away, high winds can kick up dust storms that create atmospheric difficulties for those with respiratory conditions and it can even hurt local farming and agricultural efforts. It’s a lot to handle.