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Managing Drought in a Changing Climate: Four Essential Reforms 

September 6, 2018

This Public Policy Institute of California report examines climate change impacts on water resources in California, and the state’s capacity for adaptation to water scarcity and drought. California’s 2012–2016 drought - which was the hottest in the state’s recorded history and one of the driest - is used to assess water management and responses from that time in four sectors: cities and suburbs, irrigated agriculture, rural communities, and freshwater ecosystems. Policy and management reforms are recommended for drought planning, water infrastructure and operations, water rights administration, and funding.

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Key Principles of Watershed Investment: Restoration Priorities

Carpe Diem West is a nonprofit dedicated to addressing “the profound challenge of increasing climate impacts on our water resources in the American West.” They developed this brief to offer an overview of watershed restoration initiatives in the western U.S. that demonstrate successful agency partnerships, investments, and climate adaptive and restoration projects for watershed resiliency - in order to support the creation of more actionable watershed investment plans.

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Climate Chaos and Local Resiliency – Water Solutions in the American West 

December 2017

Carpe Diem West presents seven case studies of local water resilience/conservation initiatives across the western U.S. in this online resource.  The organization’s 10th year anniversary report is a presentation of successfully implemented solutions for adapting our water usage to the changing climate. These seven stories highlight strategies that are grounded on the principles of equity, collaboration and sustainability.

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EPA Drought Response and Recovery Guide for Water Utilities

March 10, 2016

This guide from the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides practical solutions to help drinking water utilities respond to and recover from drought -  although it is not intended to serve as regulatory guidance. The interactive, user-friendly guide provides worksheets, best practices, videos and key resources for managing drought emergencies and building long-term resilience. It also relays lessons learned and case studies for seven small- to medium-sized utilities nationwide that have faced extreme drought conditions.

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Policy Platform of the Healthy Headwaters Alliance - Federal Policy Opportunities

February 2016

This Policy Platform outlines actionable strategies for federal agencies that can be implemented immediately to protect and restore the watersheds of the western U. S. The policy recommendations were developed by Carpe Diem West’s Healthy Headwaters Alliance, offering near-term policy solutions for the long-term resilience of forested headwaters for water supply. Forested watershed and source water protection is critical for climate resiliency. Watersheds filter pollutants, control erosion, regulate temperature, attenuate floods, and buffer human activities from drinking water resources.

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Clean Water Optimization Tool - Chesapeake Bay, Maryland

April 27, 2015

The Clean Water Optimization Tool is a planning tool for Maryland Eastern Shore communities to develop more cost-effective strategies for reducing stormwater pollution to meet nutrient and sediment reduction goals.

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Clean Water: Foundation of Healthy Communities and a Healthy Environment

April 27, 2011

This report compiles ongoing initiatives at four federal agencies in the Obama Administration to protect American water resources. The document summarizes programs of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Department of the Interior (DOI), and their partners, to preserve water quality and supply. The report describes new agency water resource initiatives, including updated draft guidance regarding Clean Water Act jurisdiction.

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Tiered Assistance Program

2017

The City of Philadelphia created the Tiered Assistance Program (TAP) in 2017 in order to address water affordability for low income communities. In Philadelphia, water affordability is an issue that affects a large number of families - between April 2012 and January 2018, 40% of households either had unpaid bills or some other sort of water debt. To address this issue, the Philadelphia Water Department implemented TAP, a program that allows customers to pay water bills at a percent of their income - this payment is capped at 3%. Through this program’s fixed rates, Philadelphians who are struggling to pay their water bill can budget more accurately and access more affordable water, which is predicted to result in increased payment rates and reduced water debts.

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Community-driven Water Solutions in California's Central Valley - Community Water Center

Formed in 2006, the Community Water Center (CWC) is a grassroots organization in California’s Central Valley that works to combat water insecurity in frontline communities through community organizing, policy advocacy and public education to influence water governance and decision making. Many residents of the Central Valley are from low income, predominantly Latinx communities that deal with water scarcity, groundwater contamination, or a lack of proper infrastructure. CWC provides technical and legal assistance for frontline communities, training residents as clean water advocates and helping to secure funding for sustainable drinking water projects.

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Seattle Public Utilities - Utility Discount Program

2020

In recent years, Seattle Public Utilities (SPU), which is the city’s water utility and provides drinking water and wastewater treatment, has strongly emphasized community engagement and equity issues through the creation of a variety of organizations and programs. One organization, Connect Capital, which is comprised of SPU staff and members of a community foundation and a community organization, advises SPU on how to ensure that the benefits of future  investments are equitable and address climate threats to those at risk of displacement. One result of Connect Capital’s encouragement is SPU’s investment in infrastructure in frontline communities, such as the South Park Neighborhood. Another equitable initiative under SPU is the Utility Discount Program, under which seniors, persons with disabilities, and low-income customers receive a reduction in their water and electricity bills. Households with incomes at or below 70% of state median income pay only 50% of their SPU bill. Further still, SPU’s Environmental Justice and Service Equity Division aims to promote inclusive community engagement and collaboration.

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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