Skip Navigation
Illustration of earth on a leaf

Plans and publications

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

Thumbnail of cover of report
Thumbnail of cover of report
Screenshot of first page of executive summary
Thumbnail of cover of report
Thumbnail of cover of report
Thumbnail of cover of report
Thumbnail of cover of report
Thumbnail of cover of report
Thumbnail of cover of report
Thumbnail of cover of report
Thumbnail of cover of report

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.

2019 Water Utility Climate Alliance Annual Report

This report documents the Water Utility Climate Alliance's 2019 Work Plan progress and provides a list of next steps.

Project 4729 - Mapping Climate Exposure and Climate Information Needs to Water Utility Business Functions - Executive Summary (2020)

The goal of this project was to develop a comprehensive, enterprise-level framework for understanding the exposure and sensitivities of water utility business functions to a changing climate and for accelerating the mainstreaming of climate considerations into utility management.

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.

Project 4729 - Mapping Climate Exposure and Climate Information Needs to Water Utility Business Functions

The goal of this project was to develop a comprehensive, enterprise-level framework for understanding the exposure and sensitivities of water utility business functions to a changing climate and for accelerating the mainstreaming of climate considerations into utility management. The water utility business risk and opportunity framework was designed to be replicable for use by a range of utility sizes, impacts, and functions. Though this framework specifically focused on drinking water utilities, its approach has broader applicability across a variety of utilities.

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 2020 include the following:

  • Leading 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: Using five case study utilities, the cost of heat impacts to infrastructure and personnel will be estimated and compared to the costs if preventative steps are taken now.
  • Climate Resilience Training: Refine and implement a training to build a community of smart consumers of climate information proactively pursuing climate adaptation.
  • Business Function Mapping Phase II: WUCA will test the risk and resilience framework developed in Phase I, compare the framework with other frameworks used at water utilities to assess risks, and identify opportunities to accelerate mainstreaming climate considerations and resilience into utility management.
  • Ecosystem Best Practices: Develop a series of workshops and online discussions to explore the intersection between climate change, ecosystem functions and utility services. Develop a white paper helping utilities understand ecosystem management approaches.
  • Scaling and Applying Climate Projections for Stormwater and Wastewater Resilience: Develop a white paper scanning utility needs and established and emerging practices for applying climate projections.
  • Sea Level Rise Best Practices Field Guide: Produce A Field Guide to Sea Level Rise Adaptation for the Water Sector: Moving Beyond the Risk Assessment to Implementation, which will help advance best practices and guidance for adaptation that is specific to sea level rise.

Member agency resources

Austin Water

Central Arizona Project

Denver Water

Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

New York Department of Environmental Protection

Philadelphia Water Department

San Diego County Water Authority

San Francisco Public Utilities Commission

Seattle Public Utilities

Southern Nevada Water Authority

Tampa Bay Water

Additional articles

Below, please find a list of articles on the subject of climate change.