• Water Resources

 

An Introduction to Adaptation in the Water Sector

Climate change is changing our assumptions about water resources. As climate change warms the atmosphere, altering the hydrologic cycle, changes to the amount, timing, form, and intensity of precipitation will continue. Other expected changes include changes in stream flow and water supply, as well as the quality of aquatic and marine environments. These impacts are likely to affect the programs designed to protect water quality, public health, and safety.

Use the resources below as a starting point to better understand how climate change will affect the water sector. 

 

 

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Climate Resilience Evaluation and Awareness Tool (CREAT) 3.0

This risk assessment tool assists drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater utility owners and operators in understanding potential climate change impacts to the water sector; assessing related risks at their utilities; and evaluating adaptation options. CREAT allows users to perform these analyses using scenario-based decision making in multiple time periods using pre-loaded data and downscaled local climate information.  CREAT can support utilities in initiating adaptation planning and provides suggested customizable adaptation strategies that can be implemented at the user’s utility.

Related Organizations: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Resource Category: Data and tools

 

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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.

Related Organizations: World Wildlife Fund (WWF)

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

Resource Category: Planning

 

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Getting Climate Smart: A Water Preparedness Guide for State Action

April 22, 2013

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. 

Related Organizations: American Rivers, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)

Authors or Affiliated Users: Fay Augustyn, Ben Chou

Resource Category: Planning

 

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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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Climate Change Handbook for Regional Water Planning

November 2011

Developed cooperatively by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR), The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, Resources Legacy Fund, and The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, the “Climate Change Handbook for Regional Water Planning” provides a framework for considering climate change in water management planning. Key decision considerations, resources, tools, and planning options are presented to guide resource managers and planners as they develop means of adapting their programs to a changing climate.

Related Organizations: Resources Legacy Fund, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), California Department of Water Resources

Resource Category: Planning

 

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EPA National Stormwater Calculator

2014

The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) National Stormwater Calculator (SWC) is a desktop application that estimates the annual amount of rainwater and frequency of runoff from a specific site anywhere in the United States (including Puerto Rico). The SWC is a simple to use tool for computing small site hydrology by estimating the amount of stormwater runoff generated from a site under different development and control scenarios over a long term period of historical rainfall. The analysis takes into account local soil conditions, slope, land cover and meteorology.

Related Organizations: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Resource Category: Data and tools

 

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EPA Climate Ready Estuaries - Synthesis of Adaptation Options for Coastal Areas

January 2009

This 2009 report by the U. S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides an overview of climate change impacts on coastal areas and presents adaptation options relevant to various estuarine management goals, including: maintaining/restoring wetlands, maintaining sediment transport, preserving coastal land and development (including infrastructure, maintaining shorelines (hard and soft measures), managing invasive species, preserving habitat for vulnerable species, maintaining water quality, and maintaining water availability.

Related Organizations: U.S. EPA Climate Ready Estuaries

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Adaptation Case Studies in the Western United States

October 31, 2011

From the Georgetown Climate Center, this report contains two case studies from the Western United States that explore water shortages in the West, water rights along the Colorado River, and the protection of an endangered ground-dwelling bird: the greater sage grouse.  In doing so, the report also examines the role of states in adaptation planning and the intersection between state and federal authority.

Related Organizations: Stratus Consulting, Georgetown Climate Center

Authors or Affiliated Users: Joel Smith, Jason Vogel, Karen Carney, Colleen Donovan

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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EPA Climate Change and Water Website

The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Office of Water Climate Change page provides links to resources that can be used to learn more about current climate-related activities within the agency and beyond. One key document provided on the site is the National Water Program Strategy: Response to Climate Change which provides an overview of the likely effects of climate change on water resources and the nation's clean water and safe drinking water programs. Links to newsletters, meeting calendar, and other climate information from EPA are provided.

Related Organizations: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Resource Category: Adaptation Websites

 

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