Water: Climate Change and Water
Climate change could challenge the ability of drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater utilities to protect public health and the environment. The water sector will need to adapt to be able to respond to extreme weather events, sea level rise, shifting precipitation and runoff patterns, temperature changes, and resulting changes in water quality and availability. Resilient and adaptable water utilities will help ensure clean and safe water to protect public health and sustain the communities that the utilities serve.
Numerous resources and tools to address infrastructure challenges are available: explore our resources.
What EPA Is Doing
- Climate Ready Water Utilities provides resources to help the water sector adapt to climate change. It promotes a clear understanding of climate science and adaptation options and encourages the consideration of integrated water resources management planning in the water sector.
- WaterSense addresses the growing concern that communities across the country are facing regarding water supply and water infrastructure. WaterSense offers the public and commercial and institutional water users a simple way to use less water with water-efficient products and services.
- Water and Energy Efficiency: Being water and energy efficient provides a wide range of benefits. Using less water means using less energy to move and treat water, reducing demand for limited water supplies, and reducing strain on drinking water and wastewater infrastructure capacity. In turn, using less energy reduces operating costs of infrastructure while reducing the impacts of energy generation on water supplies. EPA provides tools and information to help utilities manage water for optimum water and energy efficiency.
Water Availability: As water supplies are stressed by growing populations, the impacts of climate change, and greater competition, the need to leverage innovative technologies and alternative water supplies continues to grow. This website provides information on water reuse, aquifer storage and recovery, desalination, stormwater management, and related research.
Working With Our Partners
- Through WaterSMART, the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation works with states, tribes, local governments, and nongovernmental organizations to pursue a sustainable water supply for the nation. It manages this effort by establishing a framework to provide federal leadership and assistance on using water more efficiently, integrating water and energy policies to support the sustainable use of all natural resources, and coordinating water conservation activities.
- The U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy invests in clean energy technologies that strengthen the economy, protect the environment, and reduce dependence on foreign oil. Water plays a major role in the production of energy and fuel.
Climate and Water Strategy
- Build the body of information and tools needed to incorporate climate change into planning and decision making.
- Support integrated water resources management to sustainably manage water resources.
- Climate Resilience Evaluation & Awareness Tool is a software tool to assist drinking water and wastewater utility owners and operators in understanding potential climate change threats and assessing the related risks at their individual utilities.
- Determining Energy Usage - this EPA site provides tools and guidance for water industry professionals as well as information on how to pay for energy efficiency audits.
- The Energy Management Guidebook (PDF) (113 pp, 1,659K, About PDF) provides water and wastewater utility managers with a step-by-step guide—based on a plan-do-check-act management system approach—to identify, implement, measure, and improve energy efficiency and renewable energy opportunities at their utilities.
- The Adaptation Strategies Guide for Water Utilities (PDF) (94 pp, 8,164K, About PDF) was developed under EPA's Climate Ready Water Utilities initiative to assist drinking water and wastewater utilities in gaining a better understanding of the climate change-related impacts and adaptation strategies for their region.