The Future of Research on Climate Change Impacts on Water

The outcome of a workshop between federal agencies and water industry professionals, this document identifies research needs and decision support tools to help practitioners develop climate change adaptation strategies for water supply, wastewater, and stormwater management. The report summarizes the research and decision tools needed to help develop strategies to adapt the water sector for current and future climate change impacts.

The main objective of the workgroups within the workshop was to identify research needs to “support water, wastewater, and related planning on key decisions that utilities and other water resource managers need to make, that may be climate-sensitive, on infrastructure, water resources, and other long-lived and costly investments.” The workshop participants identified research needs to support water, wastewater, and related planning within the following topic areas: flooding and wet weather, water quality, coastal zone management, water supply and drought and the water-energy nexus. A central workshop theme was to integrate adaptation and mitigation approaches in their research efforts. Each section of the report details key decisions that need to be made by utility managers.

The Flooding and Wet Weather workgroup identified the need to examine the vulnerabilities of water infrastructure to inform adaptation decisions, and how to build public support for funding such adaptation. Similar needs and strategies were outlined by each of the other the workgroups. As such, the first-listed cross cutting theme is to develop a fundamental adaptation decision-making process in the context of uncertainty about region-specific impact projections.

The majority of the report describes the outcomes of the individual workgroups, including the attendees, key observations, the most important climate sensitive decisions on coastal zone management, identified research needs, and outlines for identified research projects. The report also includes cross-cutting themes of the workshop groups, research topic groupings, as well as describing the National Climate Assessment water sector session. 





Publication Date: 2011

Author or Affiliated User:

  • Robert S. Raucher

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