The New Britain Common Council took a step in the right direction Wednesday when members adopted a resolution to the municipal code of ordinance, giving city leaders the ability to impose emergency water use restrictions - something that some neighboring towns have already put in place.
Yes, our region has seen droughts in the past, along with scorching hot days and bountiful snowfall. And we have coped with them - because that is what we, as New Englanders, do.
That said, we are facing an even more uncertain future, thanks to climate change.
Only yesterday, The Boston Globe reported that the Northeast will experience warmer temperatures, higher seas, and greater amounts of rain and snow than federal scientists forecast only three years ago, according to a draft of a major report about climate change awaiting the approval of the Trump administration.
If little is done to cut the rise in greenhouse gas emissions, average annual temperatures in the Northeast could rise between 5.3 degrees and 9.1 degrees Fahrenheit by 2071, according to the report. That may not sound like much but the effects could be dramatic. And, while the scientists’ best guess is that rainfall will increase, thanks to powerful storms, they - and we - have no idea of the when or where or whether those higher temperatures could offset the added precipitation.
It’s a phenomenon that our leaders must take into consideration on future decisions that touch on everything from building codes to the protection of precious natural resources, including changes to the watershed.
This new ordinance, for use only in an emergency, is a good start.