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Our work

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.

Strategic Plan & Publications

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2017-2021 Strategic Plan

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.

2018 Water Utility Climate Alliance Annual Report

This report documents the Water Utility Climate Alliance's 2018 Work Plan progress and provides a list of next steps.

How are WUCA Utilities Communicating About Climate Change? (2017)

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.

Co-Producing Actionable Science for Water Utilities Workshop Final Report (2016)

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.

Climate Risks to Water Utility Built Assets and Infrastructure (2015)

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.

Options for improving climate modeling to assist water utility planning for climate change (2009)

Find out how utilities use models in climate planning. Read about current global climate models (GCMs) and downscaling and discover opportunities for improving them.

Work Plan

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 2019 include the following:

  • Best Practices in Climate Adaptation: WUCA will develop a living document that describes best practices in climate adaptation.
  • Communications: WUCA will develop visually compelling climate change and engineering case studies that serve as examples for engineers on how climate change information can be used in various engineering roles.
  • Heat Impacts to Infrastructure and Personnel: A Cost Study: WUCA will retain a consultant to determine the potential financial impacts to several water utilities of increases in extreme heat on personnel and infrastructure, and estimate the cost of actions to reduce those impacts.
  • Climate Resilience Training: Refine and implement a training to build a community of smart consumers of climate information proactively pursuing climate adaptation.
  • Emerging Opportunities: Provide WUCA flexibility to participate and support research that meet WUCA strategic priorities and objectives mid-budget cycle.
  • Support Services and Events: 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.