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.
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. Take a look at our "Becoming Climate Ready" video on what it means to be Climate Ready.
Water Utility Climate Resilience Support Projects
EPA is supporting more than 20 comprehensive climate-related risk assessments for drinking water and wastewater utilities using our Climate Resilience Evaluation and Awareness Tool. The Agency will provide technical assessment assistance to the participating utilities, which will help identify adaptation strategies for implementation to bolster climate readiness and resilience. View the list of participating utilities (Excel) (10K)
For CRWU news and updates join our listserv by sending a blank email to join email@example.com
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.
- Scenario-Based Projected Changes Map
Provides easy to access scenarios of projected changes from CREAT for:
- Annual total precipitation,
- Annual average temperature,
- Precipitation intensity for the 100-year storm, and
- Sea-level rise.
- Climate Resilience Evaluation and Awareness Tool 2.0 Exercise with Southern Nevada Water Authority (PDF) (40 pp, 1MB, About PDF)
- Climate Resilience Evaluation and Awareness Tool web page
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.
- Register and download the Workshop Planner
- Workshop Planner Fact Sheet (PDF) (1 pg, 753K, About PDF)
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.
- Updated Adaptation Strategies Guide for Water Utilities (PDF) (106 pp, 9MB, About PDF)
- Training Presentation for Adaptation Strategies Guide (PDF) (30 pp, 3MB, About PDF)
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.
- CREAT Exercise with Los Osos Water Purveyors and the Morro Bay National Estuary Program (PDF) (51 pp, 2MB, About PDF)
- CREAT Exercise with Manteo and Columbia, North Carolina and the Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Partnership (PDF) (32 pp, 3MB, About PDF)
- CREAT Exercise with North Hudson Sewerage Authority and New York-New Jersey Harbor Estuary Program (PDF) (22 pp, 1MB, About PDF)
National Drinking Water Advisory Council Climate Ready Water Utilities Report
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) which 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.
Other Climate Ready Water Utilities Resources
- Risks & Resilience: Considering the Integration of Climate Readiness into Financial Analyses of Drinking Water and Wastewater Utilities (PDF) (13 pp, 384K, About PDF)
- EPA Climate Change
- EPA Climate Ready Estuaries
- EPA Clean Water State Revolving Fund's Green Project Reserve
- EPA Effective Utility Management
- EPA Office of Water Climate Change
- EPA State and Local Climate and Energy Program
- EPA Watershed Academy December 2nd, 2010 Webcast "Climate Adaptation Tools for Addressing Water Issues"
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Climate Portal
- US Global Change Research Program
- National Water Program 2012 Strategy: Response to Climate Change
- CERES Report: Water Ripples: Expanding Risks for U.S. Water Providers
To learn more about EPA's CRWU initiative tools and resources, please view the archived webinars that were presented in coordination with water sector partners, such as the Water Utility Climate Alliance.
- Understand strategies used by drinking water and wastewater utilities for adaptation planning and decision-making.
- View presentations from utility representatives that have used these methods to plan and make critical decisions.
- Become aware of information on tools that help water sector utilities understand and adapt to climate change impacts.
Please contact us at CRWUhelp@epa.gov for help, questions, or reasonable accommodations.
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Communicating Climate Risks
Decision-Making in Practice-Florida Case Studies
Threshold Analysis to Support Decision Making
Sustainability and Adaptation
Scenario Planning to Support Decision Making
Robust Planning to Support Decision Making
CRWU 101: Introduction
Climate Change and the Water Sector
Climate Resilience Evaluation and Awareness Tool (CREAT) 101
Extreme Events Workshop Planner
Adaptation Strategies Guide
Workshop Planner / Adaptation Strategies Guide