Interview with Mike Borcher
For starters, would you mind briefly explaining your job and how it relates to the natural environment?
Director city of Greensboro- 1 of 20 departments. WATER resources main responsibility is water, sewage, and stormwater in the city and Guilford county. Outreach beyond Guildford Mega cite. Provide storm water services. Major responsibilities include 1500 water miles of water distribution lines, swear collection lines, maintaining infrastructure is highest priority. Water treatment plants… wastewater collection, water distribution. Treatment, responses to resilience as well.
What do you see as the biggest threat to the piedmont region in terms of climate and unusual weather in the future?
Certainly we have an impact on our environment, weather is impacted by our activities… what we are seeing is strom related events unnamed, or named storms, hurricanes… One of the big things is prepared to address the additional storm events. Piedmont is fortunate to see more participating events, other areas are not as fortunate. Runoff and erosion control are also large issues. Really no “free lunch” in this world… our amenities come with a price. Emerging contaminants… Price associated with this lifestyle.. Standard of living is the biggest threat. Interdepency.
What have you found is the most effective strategy for communicating to the public about topics in climate and weather?
I think for us relationships are all about communication. Maintain lines of communication. “Increases our rates, we educated the city council, but also at the same time our community is the reason we are raising our rates. Simplifying the message to where it can be understood. Drivers of rates, capital improvement, (infrastructure maintaining.. Installing new things…, regulatory compliance. Costes associated pressures) Press releases.. Updating website. Monitoring data. Being Proactive AND communicating when we're being proactive vs reactive.
Have you noticed any distinct changes in weather over the years that have surprised you?
What I've seen is more frequent and severe weather events. Storms or occurrence of summer thurdertssomrs. Hurricane season, for us it's clear we see it from the standpoint of these events. Flood events, we have a project right now, looking at flooding in the sub basin and ultimately trying to figure out what we can do to help reduce flood impacts. How can we shave a peak of a graph curve… looking ahead in planning in terms of runoff.