WASHINGTON, April 5 (UPI) -- Only nine U.S. states have taken comprehensive steps to address their vulnerability to water-related effects of climate change, environmental advocates say.
A state-by-state analysis of water readiness released Thursday by the Natural Resources Defense Council found 29 states are completely unprepared for growing water threats to their economies and public health.
The nine states that are best prepared and most engaged, with comprehensive adaptation plans, are California, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Washington, Oregon and Hawaii, the report said.
Those states have developed an integrated and comprehensive preparedness plan that addresses all relevant water sectors and state agencies, the NRDC said.
Among the least prepared were Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Texas, and Utah, the group's report said.
"A handful of state governments should be recognized as climate leaders for developing robust comprehensive adaptation plans while taking steps to cut global warming pollution," NRDC water policy analyst and report author Ben Chou said. "On the flip side, there is tremendous potential for so many more states to follow suit.
"The first step is understanding how your state will be impacted by climate change," he said. "With an ever-growing body of research, new adaptation tools, and guidance resources, there's no excuse not to tackle this challenge."