Norfolk, Hampton embrace sea level rise discussions

Closing session for Dutch Dialogues: Virginia Life at Sea Level Tuesday, June 23, 2015 (photo courtesy city of Norfolk).

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — It is time for Hampton Roads to ‘step up its game’ as the sea level continues to rise and the land continues to sink, according to Dutch water experts.

Experts from “Dutch Dialogues: Living at Sea Level” reviewed their findings Tuesday at Slover Library, after meeting with political and educational leaders in Norfolk and Hampton for five days.

The all-volunteer group focused on how communities can move forward and make decisions as sea levels continue to rise. The Dutch cite Norfolk’s waterside project as a way to protect our shoreline.

“[Hampton Roads] communities are not cooperating possibly as much as they should to deal with the challenges, and then discovering the opportunities to make the area better,” said Dale Morris, co-director of Dutch Dialogues.

“It’s not just about keeping out the water, it’s how do you live with the water and how do you create a whole place,” said Ron Williams, Norfolk’s deputy city manager. “How can you recreate and live and even work on the water.”

One of the recommendations from the Dutch was the formation of a regional coalition made up of city managers to start a proactive conversation about innovative solutions. The city managers in Norfolk and Hampton said Tuesday they plan on leading the charge to strengthen the dialogue about the rising sea levels.

To learn more about the Dutch Dialogues and living at sea level in Hampton Roads, click on this link: http://www.lifeatsealevel.org/

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