EPA's National Water Program 2012 Strategy: Response to Climate Change

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) National Water Program (NWP) 2012 Strategy: Response to Climate Change sets out long-term goals and specific actions for the EPA to prepare for, and build resilience to, the impacts of a changing climate on water resources. The core programmatic elements of this strategy include: Infrastructure; Watersheds and Wetlands; Coastal and Ocean Waters; Protecting Water Quality; and Working with Tribes.

Each section addressing these core elements is organized using a three-tier framework of a Vision, Goals, and Strategic Actions. The Strategic Actions describe how the NWP intends to work over the next three to eight years in pursuit of our longer term Goals and Visions. In total, 5 Visions, 19 Goals, and 53 Strategic Actions are detailed.  

The first National Water Program Strategy: Response to Climate Change was published in 2008. It identified 44 key actions that could be taken in the near term to begin to understand and address the potential impacts of climate change on water resources and EPA’s mission. This 2012 Strategy builds on the momentum gained since then; it describes a set of long-term goals for the management of sustainable water resources in a changing climate, and charts the key strategic actions that would need to be taken to achieve those goals.

The 2012 NWP Strategy is designed to reflect the findings of the Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force (ICCATF) and includes EPA’s commitments under three climate change strategic plans under development within the federal government for:
• Freshwater resources by the ICCATF Freshwater Work Group.
• The ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes by the National Ocean Council (NOC).
• Fish, wildlife, and plants by the National Fish, Wildlife and Plants Climate Adaptation Workgroup.

This 2012 Strategy emphasizes working collaboratively, developing tools, managing risk, and incorporating adaptation into core programs. Many programs and activities already underway become even more important in light of climate change - including strengthening preparedness for extreme weather events, protecting healthy watersheds and wetlands, managing stormwater with green infrastructure, and improving the sustainability of water infrastructure through energy and water efficiency.



Publication Date: December 2012

Related Organizations:


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Adaptation plan


Go To Resource