Climate Ready Water Utilities
Climate change impacts pose a daunting challenge to drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater utilities' (i.e., the water sector's) ability to fulfill their public health and environmental missions. Extreme weather events, sea level rise, shifting precipitation and runoff patterns, temperature changes, and resulting changes in water quality and availability contribute to a complex puzzle of climate change challenges that have potentially significant implications for sustainability of the water sector.
EPA's Climate Ready Water Utilities (CRWU) program provides resources for the water sector to develop and implement long-range plans that account for climate change impacts.
- Visit the CRWU Website for more information
- Email CRWUhelp@epa.gov with any questions or comments
- Curt Baranowski, Baranowski.Curt@epa.gov, 202.564.0636
Climate Ready Water Utilities Working Group
In fall 2009, EPA convened a CRWU Working Group under the National Drinking Water Advisory Council (NDWAC). The working group is charged with: developing attributes for climate ready water utilities; conducting a gap analysis on climate change-related tools, training, and resources to address utilities' short- and long-term needs; and identifying mechanisms that would facilitate the adoption of climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies by the water sector. The working group will provide its recommendations to the NDWAC, which will in turn make recommendations to EPA.
Climate Resilience Evaluation and Assessment Tool (CREAT)
EPA has developed CREAT, a software tool to assist drinking water and wastewater utility owners and operators in understanding potential climate change threats and in assessing the related risks at their individual utilities. CREAT provides users with access to the most recent national assessment of climate change impacts for use in considering how these changes will impact utility operations and missions.
CREAT allows users to evaluate potential impacts of climate change on their utility and to evaluate adaptation options to address these impacts using both traditional risk assessment and scenario-based decision making. CREAT provides libraries of drinking water and wastewater utility assets (e.g., water resources, treatment plants, pump stations) that could be impacted by climate change, possible climate change-related threats (e.g., flooding, drought, water quality), and adaptive measures that can be implemented to reduce the impacts of climate change. The tool guides users through identifying threats based on regional differences in climate change projections and designing adaptation plans based on the types of threats being considered. Following assessment, CREAT provides a series of risk reduction and cost reports that will allow the user to evaluate various adaptation options as part of long-term planning.
The CRWU Toolbox is a searchable web-based program that contains over 400 resources on a variety of climate change-related topics. All resources provide valuable information for the water sector to support the Climate Ready process.
Tabletop Exercise Tool
The Tabletop Exercise Tool for Water Systems: Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Climate Resiliency (TTX Tool) is a software tool that contains customizable materials for designing tabletop exercises for drinking water and wastewater utilities. Five climate scenarios are included (in the tool - intense fire, extreme drought, extreme flooding, freeze/thaw shift, and sea level rise). These scenarios to assist users to think through long-term planning plans that account for future increased climate variability.