Public Health and Preparedness
As climate change threatens to impact our health and well-being, we have a responsibility to improve our climate change preparedness and response, as well as provide accessible resources for physical, mental, and emotional health.
Protecting Vulnerable Populations
Climate change has the potential to impact everyone in Watertown. Climate vulnerability describes the degree that certain factors of natural, man-made, and social systems may be at risk of harm from exposure to impacts from climate change. Decades of research on climate change has shown that certain social demographics such as health conditions, income, employment and other factors can lead to worsened outcomes. This is why it's important to ensure that resources to increase resilience to climate change are accessible to all.
Source: American Community Survey 2019
Reducing Heat Vulnerability
Watertown is affected by a number of climate hazards, but extreme heat poses the great risk to human health. In fact, extreme heat takes more lives than any other weather-related hazard in the U.S. Two census tracts in Watertown are considered to have moderate heat vulnerability. By 2030, Watertown aims to have 0 census tracts with moderate or higher heat vulnerability.
Preparing for Intense Storms
Intense storms are one area of significant concern for Watertown's residents, businesses, and services due to power outages or property damage from wind or thunderstorms. Seniors living alone are particularly at risk from these threats and make up 34% of the 65+ population in Watertown. Power outages due to extreme weather have fluctuated over the past few years but have increased significantly due to thunderstorms.
By 2030, our goal is to reduce customer-hours of weather-related power outages to 14,000 and to 0 by 2050.
Emergency Alerts and Communications
Watertown is committed to providing equitable access to emergency preparedness and response resources. This means identifying and reducing structural barriers, like internet access or language barriers, that may prevent individuals or neighborhoods from accessing resources during and after extreme weather events. Watertown's emergency alert system, WatertownALERT, helps inform residents about emergencies and other community news.
Community Health and Connectivity
Live Well Watertown
In 2013, Watertown launched Live Well Watertown31, a collaborative initiative between Watertown’s Community Development and Planning Department and Health Department, as well as a group of residents. The initiative aims to provide increased access to information, resources, and programs in order to promote healthy living and identify opportunities to build wellness.
What You Can Do
Public Health and Preparedness Resources
Take advantage of Watertown's many resources to help residents and businesses prepare for extreme weather events and improve health and well-being.