GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Several members of Congress from North Carolina are working to improve waterways in the state.

Congressman Greg Murphy held the Water Adaptation to Ensure Regional Success (WATERS) Summit Wednesday in Greenville. Congressmen G.K. Butterfield and David Rouzer helped facilitate the event. The summit brought political leaders from all areas of the state to Eastern North Carolina.

Experts want to teach lawmakers how to combat waterway challenges in our state. Eastern North Carolina is no stranger to flooding and storms. State leaders hope to develop plans to confront these issues over the next five, 25 and 100 years.

“It’s time to bring smart people together with their legislators to actually understand the problem, figure out what we’re going to do about it and actually put those plans into action,” said Murphy.

The WATERS Summit brought together local, state and federal lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

“We have got to leave the political party labels at the door and bring people together around these science, fact-based things that are out there so clear as day that will help us hopefully come up with some solutions,” said N.C. Rep. Brian Farkas.

Speakers broke up the summit into sections: where are we now, where should we be and how do we get there. Two big topics of conversation were flooding and rising sea levels.

“I’ve been here for 27 years in Eastern North Carolina, lived through Hurricane Floyd and all the other things and we saw so many people’s businesses and their lives literally taken and their lives devastated,” said Murphy.

Experts said these environmental changes are happening as we speak.

“This is not some dystopian, distant future that we’re talking about,” said Dr. Laura Moore, UNC professor. “Some of these changes are happening now and they’ll continue to happen and accelerate going forward in the not too distant future.”

Murphy said he plans to make this an annual event. He said it’s important to have these tough conversations so we can protect and adapt to our environment.