Austin, Texas: Preparing for Water Scarcity and Drought

Developed by the Georgetown Climate Center, this case study discusses how the City of Austin, Texas agencies are preparing for climate change impacts to water supply and increasing drought. It examines how city agencies are developing a climate adaptation plan, assessing climate change risks across sectors, establishing of a Water Resource Planning Task Force, and developing recommendations to address long-term reductions in the city’s water supply in response to recent city council resolutions.  The case study also explores lessons learned from Austin's climate preparedness activities, including how cities can create an interagency task force to coordinate adaptation efforts across silos, partner with academic institutions to develop local climate projections, and link adaptation initiatives with efforts to mitigate or reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

This report is part of series of six case studies that explore ways that sub-national jurisdictions in the United States and China are building resilience to natural hazards, extreme weather, and climate change.

These case studies examine efforts to adapt to impacts in three U.S. and three Chinese jurisdictions, including efforts to prepare for:

  • increasing coastal flooding due to more frequent and intense coastal storms and rising sea levels in coastal Louisiana and Shanghai;
  • increasing water scarcity in Austin, TX, and Beijing; and
  • increasing heat waves and urban heat islands in Washington, DC, and Hong Kong. 

These case studies are oriented toward building resilience to the weather and climate related impacts being experienced in each jurisdictions; these actions are not always explicitly linked to climate change, and we do not evaluate the effectiveness or appropriateness of the specific activities undertaken by each jurisdiction.

These case studies were supported by a grant from the Georgetown Environment Initiative and the MacArthur Foundation. The Georgetown Climate Center collaborated with Professor Joanna Lewis at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service on this interdisciplinary comparative research.

Publication Date: August 19, 2015

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