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Water: Climate

Climate Ready Water Utilities (CRWU)


EPA's Climate Ready Water Utilities (CRWU) initiative assists the water sector, which includes drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater utilities, in addressing climate change impacts. Through the development of practical and easy-to-use tools, EPA promotes a clear understanding of climate science and adaptation options by translating complex climate projections into accessible formats. This information helps utility owners and operators better prepare their systems for the impacts of climate change. Take a look at our "Becoming Climate Ready" introductory video below on what it means to be Climate Ready.

Climate Ready Water Utilities
Climate Resilience Evaluation and Awareness Tool

This software tool assists drinking water and wastewater utility owners and operators in understanding potential climate change impacts and in assessing the related risks at their utilities. CREAT allows users to evaluate potential impacts of climate change on their utility and to evaluate adaptive options to address these impacts using both traditional risk assessment and scenario-based decision making.

Preparing for Extreme Weather Events: Workshop Planner for the Water Sector

The Workshop Planner contains all of the materials needed to plan and conduct a customized workshop focused on planning for frequent and intense extreme events. Users are guided through the workshop planning process and can choose from five different extreme event scenarios: flooding, drought, reduced snowpack, sea level rise, and wildfires.

Climate Ready Water Utilities Toolbox

This searchable toolbox contains resources that support all stages of the decision process, from basic climate science through integration of mitigation and adaptation into long-term planning. The Toolbox contains: reports, articles, and other publications; information about grant programs that could support climate-related actions by utilities and municipalities; current activities; upcoming seminars, workshops, and training sessions; models and tools; and climate response materials that focus on mitigation and adaptive strategies.

Adaptation Strategies Guide

This interactive guide assists drinking water and wastewater utilities in gaining a better understanding of what climate-related impacts they may face in their region, and what adaptation strategies can be used to prepare their system for those impacts. The guide now also includes information on how utilities can incorporate sustainability (e.g, green infrastructure and energy management activities) into their adaptation planning. Examples of utilities implementing adaptation options at their systems are included throughout the guide as well as a worksheet to assist in the adaptation planning process.

Climate Ready Water Utilities and Climate Ready Estuaries

EPA's Climate Ready Water Utilities and Climate Ready Estuaries initiatives are working to coordinate their efforts and support climate change risk assessment and adaptation planning. Each of the three reports below explores a different set of issues including; ecosystem impacts and salt water intrusion from sea-level rise, flooding of coastal drinking water and wastewater utilities from sea-level rise and intense precipitation events, using CREAT with small systems, and using modeling tools to supplement the information in CREAT.

Other Climate Ready Water Utilities Resources

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Climate Ready Water Utilities
Join EPA's CRWU initiative for a webinar to learn more about the tools and resources available for drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater (water sector) utilities in fulfilling their public health and environmental missions.

This webinar series, beginning in the Fall of 2013 and extending through the Spring of 2014, is being presented in coordination with the Water Utility Climate Alliance (WUCA) and other partners. Webinars will cover a range of strategies being used by water utilities for adaptation planning and decision-making. Each webinar will include presentations from utility representatives that have used these methods to plan and make critical decisions. Throughout the series, information will be provided on available tools to help water sector utilities understand and adapt to climate change impacts.

The key to the right provides an overview of all topics and dates offered as well as past webinar recordings. Please contact us at CRWUhelp@epa.gov for help, questions, or reasonable accommodations.

Training Events

Date Topic

Communicating Climate Risks
An introduction to common communication challenges and how utilities can effectively prepare messages and conduct outreach to their communities and stakeholders.
Time: 1 - 2 pm EST
Registration: https://www.thetestportal.com/crwuwebinarseries3
Register Now for Communicating Climate Risks


Financing Adaptation
An introduction to how different utilities around the country are effectively financing and implementing adaptation strategies. This session will feature different utility case studies.
Time: 1 - 2 pm EST
Registration: https://www.thetestportal.com/crwuwebinarseries4
Register Now for Financing Adaptation

Webinar Recordings

Date Topic

Decision-Making in Practice-Florida Case Studies
An introduction to how utilities in Florida are using different planning methods to prepare for projected climate impacts. The presenters will share their experiences planning for sea-level rise, storm surge, saltwater intrusion and rainfall variability.
Decision-Making in Practice (MP4) (1:02:32 mins, 634MB)
Please allow sufficient time for the video to load on slower connections.


Threshold Analysis to Support Decision Making
This webinar will present a third option for making decisions under conditions of uncertainty: bottom-up threshold analysis. This approach emphasizes the analysis of different thresholds of risk to inform and support decisions. Those that have developed and applied this method will provide their insights and experiences conducting threshold analyses for water utilities.
Threshold Analysis to Support Decision Making (MP4) (1:05:48 mins, 677MB)
Please allow sufficient time for the video to load on slower connections.


Sustainability and Adaptation
An introduction to the CRWU initiative and climate change adaptation planning.
The recently updated CRWU Adaptation Strategies Guide highlights strategies for pursuing both adaptation and sustainability goals, specifically those related to green infrastructure and energy management. This webinar will provide an in depth look at the new sustainability information in the Guide and utility representatives will share their experience planning and implementing sustainable strategies.
Sustainability and Adaptation Webinar (1:03:32 mins)


Scenario Planning to Support Decision Making
Many utilities are thinking critically about how to best manage water resources and utility assets when future conditions are uncertain. This session will introduce scenario planning, a method that allows a flexible approach to strategic long-term planning and highlight examples from utility representatives that have used scenario planning.


Robust Planning to Support Decision Making
This webinar will present another option for strategic long-term planning, robust decision making, which assesses the trade-offs between different approaches and helps identify the most ‘robust’ solution. Utility representatives that have used robust decision making techniques will share their insights and experiences.
Robust Planning to Support Decision Making Webinar Exit EPA Disclaimer


CRWU 101: Introduction
An introduction to the CRWU initiative and climate change adaptation planning.
Learn about the history of the initiative and the tools and resources available to the water sector, including an adaptation guide, an extreme events workshop planner, and comprehensive risk assessment software.
CRWU 101 Presentation: Introduction to CRWU Initiative (PDF)
(44 pp, 3MB, About PDF)


Climate Change and the Water Sector
An overview of how climate change will impact drinking water and wastewater utilities and how utilities can prepare for these impacts. This webinar also includes an explanation of the science and data sources used in CRWU tools and resources.
Climate 101 Presentation: Climate Change and the Water Sector (PDF)
(28 pp, 2MB, About PDF)


Climate Resilience Evaluation and Awareness Tool (CREAT) 101
An introduction to CRWU’s risk assessment tool, the CREAT. This webinar outlines CREAT’s risk assessment process, how it can help utilities build more resilient systems, and examples of threats and adaptation options.
CREAT 101 Presentation: Introduction to CRWU's risk assessment tool (PDF)
(44 pp, 2MB, About PDF)


Extreme Events Workshop Planner
A demonstration of the Workshop Planner which contains all of the materials a water utility would need to conduct a workshop to manage the impacts of more frequent and intense extreme events. The webinar reviews the steps to plan a workshop and engage with stakeholders, the customizable materials included, and five extreme event scenarios.
Presentation available soon.


Adaptation Strategies Guide
An introduction to the Adaptation Strategies Guide, which helps water utilities learn about and begin climate change adaptation planning. This webinar explains the impacts different regions throughout the country can expect to face along with adaptation strategies that can be used to help prepare systems for impacts.
Adaptation Strategies Guide & Toolbox Presentation (PDF) (32 pp, 5MB, About PDF)


This is the second webinar on the Climate Resilience Evaluation and Awareness Tool. We recommend reviewing the CREAT 101: Introduction webinar above which served as an introduction to the tool and the first steps in the risk assessment process. This webinar will continue outlining the process in CREAT, focusing specifically on the baseline analysis, resilience analysis and adaptation planning steps.
CREAT 201: Assessment and Planning with the Climate Resilience Evaluation & Awareness Tool (PDF) (45 pp, 2MB, About PDF)


Workshop Planner / Adaptation Strategies Guide
A joint webinar highlighting the Workshop Planner and the Adaptation Strategies Guide, and how a utility can use them both when developing adaptation plans. It will also highlight utility experiences with the tools.
Workshop Planner / Adaptation Strategies Guide Webinar (49:18 mins)

The impacts of events such as Hurricane Sandy pose challenges to water sector utilities. Extreme weather events, sea level rise, shifting precipitation patterns and temperature variability, all intensified by climate change, have significant implications for the sustainability of the water sector. By planning for, assessing and adapting to these challenges, the water sector can fulfill their public health and environmental missions and begin the process of becoming climate ready.

To set the foundation for our climate ready efforts, EPA convened a CRWU Working Group under the National Drinking Water Advisory Council (NDWAC) in Fall 2009. The NDWAC delivered its CRWU Report (PDF) (76 pp, 1MB, About PDF) to EPA in January 2011. See the Overview of the NDWAC CRWU Working Group Report (PDF), (3 pp, 875K, About PDF) for a brief summary of findings and recommendations.

The report includes 11 findings and 12 recommendations, an Adaptive Response Framework (PDF) (14 pp, 774K, About PDF) to guide climate ready activities and the identification of needed resources and possible incentives to support and encourage utility climate readiness.

Click on the tabs above for more information on the CRWU initiative, Tools & Resources and Training.

For CRWU news and updates join our listserv by sending a blank email to join crwu_contacts@lists.epa.gov

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