Utilities for drinking water, wastewater and stormwater will participate in a multi-year program to prepare for potential impacts from climate change. Challenges include droughts, more intense and frequent storms, flooding, sea-level rise and changes to water quality.
Communities will receive technical assistance in using EPA’s Climate Resilience Evaluation and Awareness Tool, software that helps users identify assets, threats and adaptation options to help reduce risk from climate change.
Communities receiving assistance from EPA include:
- Auburn, Alabama
- Austin, Texas
- Blair, Nebraska
- Bozeman, Montana
- Faribault, Minnesota
- Fredericktown, Missouri
- Haworth, New Jersey
- Helena, Montana
- Henryville, Indiana
- Hillsboro, Kansas
- Houston, Texas
- Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts
- Nome, Arkansas
- Norfolk, Virginia
- Portsmouth, New Hampshire
- Redwood Valley, California
- Sandpoint, Idaho
- Seminole Tribe of Florida, Florida
During each risk assessment, utilities will consider potential future climate change impacts in an effort to build more climate-ready and resilient water services and infrastructure.
Such risk assessments will help utilities use adaptation options to better protect critical pump stations from projected precipitation events, use conservation measures to prepare for projected reduced snowpack or less-frequent rainfall events, and prepare infrastructure for increased salinity to deal with projected sea-level rise.
Providing communities with the tools they need to increase their resilience to climate change was one of the points outlined in the EPA’s Climate Change Adaptation Plan, which was released in late October.
In addition, in 2012, a survey by Oracle Utilities of 244 water utility executives across 10 countries reported that 39 percent said water demand is “highly likely” to outstrip water supply by 2030, with climate change noted as a specific concern.