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.
This report documents the Water Utility Climate Alliance's 2017 Work Plan progress and provides a list of next steps.
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 2018 include the following:
- Support Services: The WUCA staff will retain a consultant to provide administrative and website support services through a contract agreement with an individual sponsoring agency.
- Fiscal Agent: The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) acts as Fiscal Agent for WUCA.
- Business Practice Mapping: This project will reveal the relevance of climate change to the full spectrum of utility decisionmaking/planning/operational functions and provide guidance on the types of climate information that may be most appropriate for each.
- Best Practices in Climate Adaptation: WUCA will define climate adaptation for a water utility context and identify, document, and synthesize lessons and practices associated with adapting to climate change.
- Member utility and other climate change practitioner presentations: Presenters will share what others in the sector are doing to address and adapt to climate change and how member utilities and practitioners are using climate information.
- Western Urban Water Coalition/WUCA Partnership: The partnership will determine the type of information needed to help demonstrate challenges and barriers utilities are (or are not) experiencing using existing flexible tools in Clean Water Act and gather information to support development of flexible and adaptive regulations.
- Comments on Federal and National Reports and Projects: WUCA will provide comments on critical national adaptation efforts.
- Climate Resilience Training: Refine and implement a training to build a community of smart consumers of climate information proactively pursuing climate adaptation.
- American Water Works Association Climate Action Plan Manual: WUCA will co-author two chapters (science of climate change and engineering principles) in the forthcoming AWWA Climate Action Plan Manual (M71) and review the manual to incorporate WUCA best practice guidance.
- Strategic Coalition Development: This project will help WUCA become a more effective network, conduct a landscape assessment of WUCA allies and contacts, and receive coaching on strategic planning.
- Communication: WUCA will survey members to identify the benefits of WUCA participation and develop messages for internal utility use on probability and plausibility.
- Austin Forum: Increase WUCA's profile while demonstrating to the public how cities and local governments, including utilities, are stepping up efforts to address climate change head-on.
- Emerging Opportunities: Provide WUCA flexibility to participate and support research that meet WUCA strategic priorities and objectives mid-budget cycle.