EPA Assists Water Utilities in Bolstering Climate Resilience

Nov. 20, 2014

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is providing up to $600,000 in training and technical assistance to help water utilities in more than 20 communities bolster their climate change resilience and readiness.

“Climate change isn’t a distant threat — it is already impacting communities across the country,” said Ken Kopocis, deputy assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Water. “EPA is helping water utilities plan for and adapt to these challenges to ensure that they can continue to meet their public health and environmental missions no matter what circumstances may arise in the future.”

Drinking water, wastewater and stormwater utilities 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, Ala.
  • Austin, Texas
  • Blair, Neb.
  • Bozeman, Mont.
  • Faribault, Minn.
  • Fredericktown, Mo.
  • Haworth, N.J.
  • Helena, Mont.
  • Henryville, Ind.
  • Hillsboro, Kan.
  • Houston, Texas
  • Manchester-by-the-Sea, Mass.
  • Nome, Ak.
  • Norfolk, Va.
  • Portsmouth, N.H.
  • Redwood Valley, Calif.
  • Sandpoint, Idaho
  • Seminole Tribe of Florida, Fla.

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, for instance, 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.

These examples illustrate the variety of adaptation options utilities can identify and build into planning based on their risk assessments. 

More information: http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/watersecurity/climate/index.cfm.

Source: US EPA

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