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City of Hampton uses innovative tool to fight flooding

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Posted at 3:17 PM, Dec 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-03 15:27:34-05

HAMPTON, Va. - It's no secret. It doesn't take much rain to flood Hampton and the rest of the region.

While that's a challenge, another obstacle is finding ways to pay for projects to mitigate flooding as local governments face tight budgets these days.

Hampton is now moving forward with three projects to help fight flooding with a total cost of $12 million, but the money is coming from Environmental Impact Bonds. Private investment will put up the money, with the city paying back over time.

"We know now that Hampton Roads is leader in a less desirable category - one of the country's most vulnerable areas to sea level rise and climate change," said Hampton Mayor Donnie Tuck on Thursday.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation partnered with a company called Quanitified Ventures to find a city to take on the project. Hampton becomes the third city in America to use Environmental Impact Bonds.

The bonds give investors the chance to invest in projects that can benefit communities and also require reporting of the outcomes of the projects to ensure they're doing what they were meant to do.

"In total, we estimate the these three projects will help us store an additional 8.6 million gallons of water per storm event," said Tuck.

The three projects will increase storm water capacity at Lake Hampton, raise North Armistead Avenue and reduce flooding around Newmarket Creek. More information about the projects can be found here.

Related: Old Dominion University researchers developing new flooding alert system for drivers

"These projects and partnerships are examples of what we are doing to heal these places that we love," said Congressman Bobby Scott (D-Newport News).

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation hopes this is just the start and wants other cities to participate.