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Water Utility Climate Alliance

Water Utility Climate Alliance

Delivering reliable, high-quality water requires a delicate balance between water supplies and customer demands.

While water managers continually strive to maintain this supply-and-demand balance through long-term water resource planning and demand management, new challenges exist due to the impacts of climate change, putting the world's water resources at risk.

The Water Utility Climate Alliance (WUCA) is dedicated to enhancing climate change research and improving water management decision-making to ensure that water utilities will be positioned to respond to climate change and protect our water supplies.

    • David Behar speaking at conference

      Planning for Sea Level Rise: An AGU Talk in the Form of a Co-Production Experiment Exploring Recent Science

      The Water Utility Climate Alliance first defined the term "actionable science" in 2009. We increasingly recommend that the best path to creating actionable science involves a "co-production" dynamic bringing together scientists and decision makers.

      This process was successfully employed by WUCA member David Behar recently, to develop a set of consensus statements regarding probabilistic projections of sea level rise with fellow decision makers and climate scientists. This white paper was presented at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in New Orleans in December 2017.

    • People sitting around table at GM retreat

      WUCA GM Retreat features Brad Udall lecture

      WUCA held its 2017 General Managers Retreat on Oct. 18 in St. Simons, Ga. The retreat featured a lecture by Colorado State University's Brad Udall about climate change and extreme events. The lecture was followed by a discussion of how WUCA utilities respond to extreme events that directly affect their systems, including wildfires, extreme heat, hurricanes and droughts. The general managers reviewed the 2017 WUCA Annual Report and voted to approve the 2018 WUCA Work Plan.

      WUCA also elected the Central Arizona Project (CAP) to fill the vacant vice chair position. CAP will join Denver Water as it takes over the WUCA chair position in January 2018. WUCA held the second of its biannual staff retreats on the following day, Oct. 19, and identified how to execute the newly approved work plan.

      • People sitting at tables with computers

        WUCA hosts first ever free technical training course

        60 drinking water and wastewater utility managers and consultants attended from across the U.S.

        Attendees learned different methods for incorporating climate change information into water resource planning, walked through one method for planning for multiple scenarios, and developed communication strategies to convey concepts to different audiences.

      Key messages from WUCA

      • Icon of thermometer

        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.

      • Icon of pipe

        Know your system and explore its vulnerabilities

        Assess your water system to identify vulnerabilities. Risks can only be reduced if they are identified.

      • Icon of land surveyor looking through equipment

        Plan for multiple futures

        Predicting the future is not feasible but anticipating plausible warmer future climates is. Prepare to face a variety of scenarios.

      • Icon of man holding gears

        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.