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.
Training materials and recordings now available
In July 2022, WUCA hosted a free virtual training course, attended by drinking water professionals primarily from the Colorado River basin in the Southwest U.S.
Attendees enhanced their understanding of the capabilities and limitations of climate science, learned best practices for using it in long-term water agency planning, reviewed planning frameworks that address deep uncertainty, learned about different communication tools, and more.
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.
2022-2026 Strategic Plan released
WUCA has updated its Strategic Plan for 2022-2026 to guide its work and focus over the next five years. This new aspirational plan puts the Alliance in a strong position to build on a legacy of leadership in water sector climate adaptation and address and respond to emerging challenges and opportunities.
It outlines strategic priorities, goals, and objectives that WUCA will pursue over the next five years, presents a refined vision, and articulates its approach to collaboration and intended target audience.
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.