Climate change is affecting the water sector by altering the water cycle and weather patterns. Extreme events such as droughts, heatwaves, floods, hurricanes, and wildfires are increasing in severity and frequency, posing critical risks to drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater utilities. The Water Utility Climate Alliance (WUCA) advances climate change adaptation, planning, and decision-making to ensure that water utilities, and the communities they serve, can thrive in the face of these emerging challenges.
WUCA leverages collective utility experiences to develop leading practices in climate change adaptation and mitigation that are actionable, equitable, and serve as a model for others.
We collaborate, with each other and our partners, to enable water utilities to respond to climate change impacts on utility functions and operations to protect our water systems today and into the future.
Sea level rise adaptation report released
As the atmosphere warms due to climate change, there is a direct impact on the hydrologic cycle, thus creating unique challenges for the water sector.
Developed by EcoAdapt and WUCA, Beyond Barriers to Implementation: A Water Sector Perspective on Sea Level Rise Adaptation provides tangible, replicable practices to help water utility staff and water resource managers advance adaptation efforts.
Greenhouse gas mitigation case studies released
Recognizing the importance of greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation as a key climate adaptation strategy, WUCA recently worked with partner agencies to develop a series of GHG mitigation case studies. These case studies are examples of progressive GHG mitigation projects at water utilities and include lessons learned during implementation.
Water utilities have a unique role to play in mitigating GHGs, both due to the high energy usage of the water industry as well as the leading example that the water industry sets for other industries and business communities.
"Showcasing Leading Practices in Climate Adaptation" webinar summary released
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has released a summary of the federal "Showcasing Leading Practices in Climate Adaptation" webinar series, which ran through the fall and winter of 2021.
For the webinars, WUCA partnered with NOAA, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Water Research Foundation to profile water sector climate change adaptation experiences and share lessons learned with the broader water and climate communities.
Key messages from WUCA
Warming is here and now. Climate adaptation planning is not just about the future. Water utilities are experiencing the effects of a changing climate on their water resources today.
Know your system and explore its vulnerabilities. Assess your water system to identify vulnerabilities. Risks can only be reduced if they are identified.
Plan for multiple futures. Predicting the future is not feasible but anticipating plausible warmer future climates is. Prepare to face a variety of scenarios.
Capacity building and assessment are part of the adaptation equation. Developing the technical and managerial expertise to identify and assess climate risks to a system is as much a part of adaptation as the steps taken to implement risk reduction measures.