The Water Utility Climate Alliance aims to enhance the quality and accessibility of regional climate change data to help reduce uncertainty and improve water resource planning, promote the development of adaptation strategies, assist overall decision-making efforts and support the development of water-related policies.
The following plans, activities and publications support this objective.
WUCA's Strategic Plan serves as the primary guidance document for the alliance's long-term efforts. The plan was developed by the Strategic Planning Committee, which included staff members from each WUCA agency. It covers a five-year period of 2017-2021; however, it is reviewed annually as part of the work plan development process and updated as needed.
The following WUCA publications seek to advance understanding of how the relatively new enterprise of climate change assessment and adaptation is developing. They also provide feedback from the front lines of climate change planning to guide future investment in this rapidly growing field of inquiry.
WUCA utilities communicate about climate change in different ways, depending on utility goals, local politics and demographics. This report summarizes key findings of a survey of the ten utilities on how they are using and developing climate change messaging for both internal and external audiences.
Hear about WUCA's Piloting Utility Modeling Applications (PUMA) Project and ideas generated regarding next steps in developing a water climate services framework at a workshop with over 50 experts from the drinking water, boundary organization, academic, federal agency, and NGO communities.
This report describes the lessons learned from a survey that the Portland Water Bureau conducted of 18 national and international water utilities (including 9 WUCA utilities) to understand how climate risks and extreme weather events are affecting utility built assets and infrastructure. The report describes how these utilities are responding by building new infrastructure, replacing or repairing assets, changing operations, and quantifying climate risks to assets.
Actionable Science in Practice: Co-Producing Climate Change Information for Water Utility Vulnerability Assessments: Final Report of the Piloting Utility Modeling Applications (PUMA) Project (2015)
Explore successful partnerships where climate scientists and utility operators throughout the United States apply climate science in resilience planning. Major conclusions include the need for local assessments, the importance of two-way communication and the need for reconciling top-down and bottom-up assessment approaches.
Embracing Uncertainty: A Case Study Examination of How Climate Change is Shifting Water Utility Planning (2015)
See how 13 utilities integrate climate change data into their planning. Discover the importance of public engagement in the planning process and learn the key distinctions between climate projections and predictions.
Decision support planning methods: Incorporating climate change uncertainties into water planning (2010)
Utilities need multiple-outcome planning as they face climate change. Learn about decision support planning methods like classic decision analysis, real options and portfolio planning.
Proceedings of the Water Utility Climate Alliance Piloting Utility Modeling Applications (PUMA) Workshop (2010)
Have a look at the climate models used by WUCA member utilities. Learn the importance of interagency coordination and stakeholder communication during the planning process.
Find out how utilities use models in climate planning. Read about current global climate models (GCMs) and downscaling and discover opportunities for improving them.
Using the 5-year Strategic Plan and an assessment of prior-year accomplishments as guidance, WUCA staff develops a work plan reflecting current priorities for the upcoming year. Priorities for 2017 include the following:
- Support Services: The WUCA staff will seek a consultant to provide administrative support services through a contract agreement with an individual sponsoring agency. The consultant will alleviate administrative and website support tasks and free up WUCA staff time to complete technical work projects on time and on budget.
- Fiscal Agent: The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California acts as Fiscal Agent for WUCA. The MWD will collect and disburse funds, as well as maintain financial records and documentation.
- Business Practice Mapping: Through a summary document, help reveal the relevance of climate change to the full spectrum of utility decision-making/planning/operational functions and provide guidance on the types of climate information that may be most appropriate for each function.
- Best Practices in Climate Adaptation: Document lessons learned in adapting to climate change at each member utility. Synthesize collective and individual lessons learned and produce white paper, journal article, and PowerPoint slides.
- Presentations (members/guests): Share what others in the sector are doing to address and adapt to climate change. Share how member utilities and practitioners are using climate information.
- Emerging Opportunities: WUCA is proposing to add a budget item for emerging opportunities to allow WUCA to participate in projects that arise in the middle of the calendar year.
- Communication: Complete tasks from 2016 work plan before the end of the year. Create summary document. Develop improved and contemporary WUCA website.
- WUWC/WUCA Partnership: Summarize percentage of utilities using each of the existing Clean Water Act tools that are intended to provide flexibility (e.g. TMDLs, variances, etc.), and what barriers exist to using them (if any).