Public Health & Preparedness

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The public health impacts associated with climate change include increased health disparities for vulnerable populations, extreme heat, vector-borne illnesses, and risks to life or property during extreme weather events. Watertown is committed to ensuring the well-being, health, and safety of Watertown residents through improved climate change preparedness and response, enhanced communications, and accessible resources for physical, mental, and emotional health.

  • Live Well Watertown: Live Well Watertown is a joint initiative between the City and local partners that offers free educational programs and resources to residents of all ages. Efforts focus on all dimensions of health and wellbeing including an active lifestyle, stress management, social connections, healthy eating and food security.
  • Climate and health vulnerability assessment: City staff, supported with technical assistance from the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, launched this assessment in spring 2024 in order to identify populations most vulnerable to the public health impacts of climate change, identify barriers or gaps in resources, and recommend policy changes to address those barriers/gaps.
  • Hazard Mitigation Plan: Hazard Mitigation planning is a proactive effort to identify actions that can be taken to reduce the dangers to life and property from natural hazard events. The Federal Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 requires all municipalities that wish to be eligible to receive FEMA funding for hazard mitigation grants to adopt a local multi-hazard mitigation plan and update this plan in five year intervals. Watertown’s most recent update was adopted in 2019 and assesses the potential impacts from flooding, high winds, winter storms, brush fire, geologic hazards, extreme temperatures, and drought.
  • School gardens program: Watertown Public Schools boasts a robust school garden program at each of our Elementary Schools. Through these gardens, staff and teachers educate students and the community about local food systems, planting and caring for vegetables and other crops, and the connection between nature, community, and climate change. The City and WPS also run a Summer Garden Internship for middle school students (summer 2023 and 2024, made possible by an Accelerating Climate Resilience Grant from MAPC).
  • Watertown Weather Center: The City has a convenient webpage for all you need to know about extreme weather, including how to cool down during a heat wave, updates on snow emergencies and parking bans, and more. Visit the Weather Center here.

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