"For decades, Alaska has struggled to get running water and sewer systems to its rural communities. An estimated 3,000 households — or about 10,000 people — still lack both. Now, that job may be getting harder, as climate change exacerbates old problems and creates new ones.
For years, the village of Unalakleet has piped in drinking water from a creek several miles away. The water main runs along the beach, buried underground.
Or, at least, it was buried. In the last several years, that beach has taken a beating. City council member Judie Kotongan remembers one storm in particular.
“The surf just was pounding — it moved Conexes,” Kotongan said, describing shipping containers sitting by the water. The storm tore away parts of the bank, exposing the water main."