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Innovative Approaches for Adapting to Water Variability in the West

May 2012

This brief reviews three approaches that communities are pursuing to adapt to climate change:

  • New Mexico's Active Water Resource Management program, which put rules into place that allow for temporary water use changes in real time in case of drought.
  • The Water Utility Climate Alliance (WUCA), which was founded by water managers concerned by a gap in climate assessment and adaptation science needed to support their decisions.
  • Colorado's Joint Front Range Climate Change Vulnerability Study, which brings together the state and water utilities to assess climate change's impact on local water availability.

Author or Affiliated User: Sarah Cottrell Propst

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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USGS Integrated Watershed Scale Response to Global Change in Selected Basins Across the United States

May 16, 2012

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) has utilized water availability models to project local-level climate change impacts in 14 water basins. To determine the sensitivity and potential effect of long-term climate change on the freshwater resources of the U. S. , the USGS Global Change study, “An integrated watershed scale response to global change in selected basins across the United States” was started in 2008 and published its results in 2012. The long-term goal of this study is to provide the foundation for hydrologically based climate change studies across the nation.

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Streamflow Projections for the Western United States

May 16, 2012

The resource provides streamflow and water supply data for 195 sites in the Western United States in the form of an interactive map. These data are based on hydrologic projections at a 12 kilometer resolution covering western states. High-resolution climate/hydrologic variations and changes are depicted through global climate simulations and then downscaled. Projections for each site run from the year 1950 through 2099.

Resource Category: Data and tools

 

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EPA Urban Waters Small Grants

2012

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Urban Waters Program is a potential source of funding for green infrastructure and other resilience projects that highlight equity and environmental justice. The program offers small grants (up to $60,000) for water projects that encourage the growth of local business, promote public education, or otherwise create recreational, social, and employment opportunities in local communities. Since its inception in 2012 the program has provided $6.6 million in funding to 114 organizations across the U.S. and in Puerto Rico. Through this program, underserved communities can access healthy waters; helping grow local businesses and enhancing educational and social opportunities.

Resource Category: Funding

 

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Development of an Adaptation Toolbox to Protect Southeast Florida Water Supplies from Climate Change

October 14, 2011

This project was performed to create a toolbox of options that southeast Florida utilities could pursue to meet water management needs, as well as the toolbox may have wider application to other coastal communities. This paper creates the connection between sustainable water supplies and Everglades restoration, outlines potential effects of sea level rise scenarios for coastal southeast Florida, and provides the toolbox of adaptation options for water, wastewater, and stormwater utilities.   Also included are milestones to trigger infrastructure investments, as climate changes may occur more rapidly or more slowly than currently projected.

Authors or Affiliated Users: Frederick Bloetscher, Barry Heimlich, Daniel E. Meeroff

Resource Category: Planning

 

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State of Illinois Drought Preparedness and Response Plan

October 12, 2011

The State Water Task Force is an interagency group that was assembled in 1980 to guide policy decisions related to water issues, and to prepare a State Water Plan for Illinois.  The Task Force updates Illinois’ 1983 Drought Contingency Plan with this Drought Preparedness and Response Plan - continuing to provide local and state officials and the public with information on water supply issues, and key considerations for drought preparedness. This plan was developed from pilot regional water supply assessments and planning projects.

Resource Category: Planning

 

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National Action Plan - Priorities for Managing Freshwater Resources in a Changing Climate

October 2011

In October 2010, the Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force published a Progress Report to the President describing Federal agency actions needed to better prepare the Nation to respond to the impacts of a changing climate. The Progress Report directed the Task Force’s Water Resources and Climate Change Adaptation Workgroup to lead the development of a national action plan to identify steps that Federal agencies can take to improve management of freshwater resources in a changing climate.

Resource Category: Planning

 

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EPA National Lakes Assessment

2012

During the summer of 2012, the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), states, tribes and other partners conducted the second nationwide survey of the condition of the nation’s lakes. Designed to estimate the percentage of lakes that are in good, fair, or poor condition, the National Lakes Assessment (NLA) serves as a scientific report card on America’s lakes. It examines ecological, water quality, and recreational indicators, and assesses how widespread key stressors (such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and acidification) are across the country.

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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Florida Water Management and Adaptation in the Face of Climate Change

November 2011

A series of white papers have been prepared by the State University System (SUS) of Florida Universities regarding realized and predicted climate change impacts, with this report specifically addressing water resources and adaptation issues across Florida. The primary objectives of this report are: (1) to identify Florida’s water resources and water-related infrastructure that are vulnerable to climate change; (2) show demographics in the state that are vulnerable to climate change impacts with a focus on water resources and sea level rise; and (3) highlight some of the alternative technologies currently being used to solve water resource supply issues in the state that are likely to expand and be challenged under various scenarios of climate change.

Authors or Affiliated Users: Leonard Berry, Frederick Bloetscher, Nicole Hernandez Hammer, Marguerite Koch-Rose, Diana Mitsova-Boneva, Jorge Restrepo, Tara Root, Ramesh Teegavarapu

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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Shifting Course: Climate Adaptation for Water Management Institutions

November 2011

This publication identifies a set of  common principles for climate-adaptive institutions, specifically for water management.   It was originally inspired by a session organized by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), International Union for Conservation of Nature and Conservation International at the 2010 Stockholm World Water Week. This report is a provides operational guidance on how to make water management institutions more climate-adaptive.   Although the climate debate is often centered on temperature, water is what will determine whether a community (a village, city, or region) or ecosystem can survive - according to the report.

Authors or Affiliated Users: Jonathan Cook, Sarah Freeman, Eliot Levine, Margot Hill

Resource Category: Planning

 

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