Charleston’s future depends upon how well the City and surrounding counties invest to adapt and preserve physical assets, underlying economies of medicine, education, tourism and trade, and enhance residents’ quality of life. Given Charleston’s abundant natural and man-made assets, creatively linking spatial planning, integrated water management, infrastructure and development will yield a compelling vision for Charleston’s future. To create that vision, the Historic Charleston Foundation and the City of Charleston have launched Dutch Dialogues Charleston, a collaborative effort involving national and international water experts working alongside Charleston’s local teams to conceptualize a Living With Water™ future. This new way of thinking about water, land, and people with multiple benefits will provide near- and long-term value to Charleston.
Many U.S. coastal cities, like Charleston, are experiencing the limits of “pump and drain” due to recurrent, more severe storms with extreme precipitation, increased river discharge and sea level rise. Dutch Dialogues Charleston will research, explore, design and propose integrated ways to mitigate and adapt to flood and other risks threatening the City and Lowcountry environs. These Dialogues should demonstrate the need for a comprehensive, realistic and inspirational Charleston Regional and Urban Water Plan to guide investment and (re)development in both nature-based and man-made water infrastructure improvements in the coming decades and provide a road map for flood risk mitigation.
Dutch Dialogues Charleston will be directed and coordinated by Waggonner & Ball, The Water Institute of the Gulf and the Royal Netherlands Embassy, Washington, DC, alongside key Charleston-region partners from January through late-summer 2019.
The proposed areas of focus include:
Lockwood Corridor/Medical District is a critical provider of essential services, and is currently impaired by recurrent tidal and storm-related flooding.
New Market & Vardell’s Creek Area is experiencing significant growth and requires comprehensive land use and water planning to address the low elevation, stormwater flooding, unmet housing needs, and broader neighborhood development patterns.
Johns Island requires a set of best water management practices to mitigate current and predicted flood risk. This multi-jurisdictional area with many infrastructure and growth-related challenges demands a regional perspective.
Church Creek is heavily urbanized, underutilized, and constrained and serves primarily as a drainage conduit and cause of flooding. Settlement patterns, geography, land use, water storage, and discharge needs, and upland opportunities will influence proposed interventions to lower flood risk and enhance post-event resiliency while ensuring the vitality and viability of the area.