Getting Climate Smart: A Water Preparedness Guide for State Action

This state action guide was developed by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and American Rivers to provide water managers and state governments with information to help comprehensively plan and prepare for the water-related impacts of climate change. The guide combines practical advice and real-world case studies while outlining a six-step planning process for state governments, water managers, and other stakeholders to develop and implement climate preparedness plans. 

To aid states in the planning process, the guide contains resources with information on potential climate change risks and identifies possible funding programs. It also includes a "Top 10 List of No-Regret Strategies" to help states prioritize actions, and a comprehensive toolbox of more than 600 strategies for addressing climate impacts in seven sectors including agriculture, urban infrastructure, fisheries, public health, tourism and recreation, coastal areas, and water management.

The planning process is outlined in an accessible while comprehensive approach, inclusive of the following six steps: 

1. Getting started (which includes recognizing threats and building support, committing to preparedness planning, and allocating initial resources)

2. Establishing coordinated groups and goals

3. Assessing climate impacts, risks, and vulnerabilities

4. Determining preparedness strategies

5. Finalizing the plan

6. Implementing and updating the plan

The example implementation case studies evaluated include: Philadelphia - Green City, Clean Waters, Preparing for Sea Level Rise in California, and Relocating Out of Harm’s Way - Soldiers Grove and Gays Mills, Wisconsin. Appendix II lists federal funding sources for plan development, and examples of federal, regional and state funding for implementation.

The "Strategy Toolbox" is an additional document: The preparedness strategies listed in the toolbox were identified from an extensive literature review, and were evaluated by subject matter experts to ensure they will help to build the resilience and reduce the vulnerability of both people and ecosystems to climate change impacts.  



Publication Date: April 22, 2013

Authors or Affiliated Users:

  • Fay Augustyn
  • Ben Chou

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Resource Types:

  • Planning guides


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