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Recent AMWA Activities

February 20, 2013: AMWA responded to an inquiry from the congressional Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change seeking suggestions for federal actions and policies to help communities prepare for and adapt to the impacts of global climate change. AMWA's comments were based on input from the association's Sustainability Committee.

AMWA, the American Water Works Association, the Water Utility Climate Alliance, the Water Research Foundation, and the Association of California Water Agencies submitted three technical inputs for consideration as the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) develops the water sector section of the 2013 National Climate Assessment (NCA).  These joint water sector submissions collectively summarize existing and ongoing research and research needs pertinent to the drinking water community for consideration as the NCA is developed.  

NCA_1st Water Sector Technical Input

NCA_2nd Water Sector Technical Input

NCA_3rd Water Sector Technical Input

Additional information on the USGCRP and the NCA is available online.

USGCRP - http://www.globalchange.gov/
NCA - http://www.globalchange.gov/what-we-do/assessment

AMWA is also a partner in NCAnet, a program developed by the USGCRP to enable continued engagement in the extended NCA process. Participation in the NCAnet partnership enhances networking opportunities around climate change issues, allowing easier information sharing on multiple government, private, non-profit, and academic climate-related activities. NCAnet partners meet on a regular basis to share information as well as get updates from USGCRP staff on NCA progress and other USGCRP initiatives. Additional information on NCAnet is available at: https://sites.google.com/a/usgcrp.gov/nca-net/home.


AMWA Resources

Confronting Climate Change: An Early Analysis of Water and Wastewater Adaptation Costs

This report provides preliminary analyses of potential climate change impacts on drinking water and wastewater services in the United States through 2050.  Included in the analyses are initial cost assessments (ranging from $448 billion to $944 billion) of potential adaptations to address some of the likely impacts of climate change.  The analyses in this white paper, based on potential greenhouse gas scenarios and regional projections of climate change effects, were developed to assist policy makers and the water and wastewater sectors to understand the challenges of ensuring that reliable water and wastewater services continue to be available in the face of a changing climate.

View Report.


Implications of Climate Change for Urban Water Utilities

This white paper provides a basic understanding of the potential impacts of climate change on urban water utilities to help move past the initial information overload that can be a barrier to understanding the issues involved and developing appropriate responses.  Based on the potential climate impacts outlined, responses to climate change are discussed, both in terms of “adaptation  strategies” to reduce or avoid impacts of climate change, and in terms of “mitigation strategies” that utilities may adopt to reduce the contribution of water utility operations to the production of greenhouse gas emissions.

View White Paper.


Other Resources

April, 2012

Ready or Not: An Evaluation of State Climate and Water Preparedness Planning

This Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) report assesses the efforts of all 50 states (and their associated state agencies) in preparing for water-related impacts of climate change. The report categorizes a majority of states (29 total) as being “largely unprepared and lagging behind” in addressing water-related climate impacts.  Only nine states (Alaska, California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington and Wisconsin) were assigned to the top category, representing states most prepared for climate change.

To access the report, Click Here.


February, 2012

Climate Change Adaptation: What Federal Agencies Are Doing

This new report provides an agency-by-agency summary of efforts “to “mainstream” the consideration of climate change adaptation across their operations, programs, and policies.”  In additional to the agency-level evaluation, the report gives an overview of climate activities at the executive level, including a summary of progress from the President Obama’s Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force, which was assigned the role of better coordinating a national approach to climate adaptation planning.

To access the report, Click Here.


January, 2012

Adaptation Strategies Guide for Water Utilities

A new guide developed through EPA's Climate Ready Water Utilities initiative is designed help drinking water and wastewater utilities get “a better understanding of what climate change-related impacts they may face in their region and what adaptation strategies can be used to prepare their system for those impacts.”  The guide includes basic climate science information, adaptation case studies and planning worksheets intended to help “jump start the adaptation planning process.”

To access the guide, Click Here.


November, 2011

CEQ Climate Papers

The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) recently released two new climate related-papers: Federal Actions for a Climate Resilient Nation: Progress Report of the Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force provides updates on federal agencies’ efforts to better understand and prepare for potential impacts of climate change. The second paper, National Action Plan: Priorities for Managing Freshwater Resources in a Changing Climate, is designed to help freshwater resource managers protect water supplies and safeguard water quality and aquatic ecosystems.

To access the reports, Click Here.

September, 2011

EPA Report Assesses Challenges In Performing Climate-Related Vulnerability Assessments

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report, Aquatic Ecosystems, Water Quality, and Global Change: Challenges of Conducting Multi-stressor Global Change Vulnerability Assessments, “investigates the issues and challenges associated with identifying, calculating, and mapping indicators of the relative vulnerability of water quality and aquatic ecosystems, across the United States, to the potential adverse impacts of external forces such as long-term climate and land-use change.”

The best practices and remaining challenges for developing multi-stressor vulnerability assessments discussed in the report are based on analysis of over 600 water quality and aquatic ecosystem conditions.  However, the report does not provide any direct assessments of water quality changes, rather it is intended to provide a framework within which existing data gaps can be filled and vulnerability assessments performed.

The full report (pdf) is available for Download.


July, 2011

Climate Impacts on Water Resources of U.S. Cities

A report from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) outlines the likely impacts of global climate change on the water resources of twelve cities across the U.S., detailing challenges such as rising sea levels, prolonged drought, and more intense precipitation events.

The report also discusses the steps these cities are taking to begin to adapt to these changing conditions, and recommends that communities carry out climate vulnerability assessments to more clearly identify how climate change will impact them.

To access the NRDC report, Click Here.


June, 2011

EPA's Climate Adaptation Policy Statement

EPA's climate adaption policy, signed on June 2, 2011 by Administrator Lisa Jackson, says that the climate change "will require that the EPA anticipate and plan for future changes in climate and incorporate considerations of climate change into many of its programs, policies, rules and operations to ensure they are effective under future climatic conditions."

The policy sets forth nine requirements EPA will undertake to ensure effective adaptation planning and implementation, including the development of a climate change adaptation plan and performance measures.

To read the policy, Click Here.


Legislative News

February, 2013

Water Utility Resiliency and Adaptation Legislation Introduced in the House of Representatives

Legislation intended to help the nation's drinking water and wastewater utilities adapt their infrastructure to the impacts of changing hyrological conditions -- included those influenced by global climate change -- was recently reintroduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The "Water Infrastructure Resiliency and Sustainability Act of 2013" (H.R. 765) would establish a competetive grant program at EPA to offer matching funds to local adaptation projects intended to address the impacts of changing hyrological conditions on infrastructure and water quality and quantity.  It is nearly identical to legislation Rep. Capps previously introduced in 2011.

More information on H.R. 765 is available via the Library of Congress.


Looking for Other On-line Resources?

Click here to explore other online climate research resources


Looking for Older Documents?

Access previously-posted information in AMWA's Climate Archives, available here.


To Access Previously Posted Materials From The Climate Change Committee, click here.

Water Climate Forum:

Speaker presentations and other documents from the January, 2010 Climate Change Impacts on Water: An International Adaptation Forum are now available at www.waterclimateforum.org.

In The News:

December 5: Climate Change to Impact Northwestern Snowpack
(The Spokesman-Review)

November 12: Climate Change Takes Aim at the Southeast
(USA Today)

October 21: Rising Temps Expected to Lead to Greater Water Demand in Nebraska
(Omaha World-Herald)

October 16: More Recycled Water Seen in Australia's Future
(The Herald Sun)

October 10: Canadian Communities Consider Adaptation Costs, Needs
(Hamilton Spectator)

September 29: New Zealand Sees Need for More Water Storage
(Radio New Zealand)

September 24: Rivers Run Dry in China
(The Atlantic Cities)

September 6: Climate Change Threatens Caribbean Water Supplies
(Associated Press)

September 5: Extreme Weather Linked to Changing Climate

August 27: Yosemite Fire Shows Water Resources At Risk
(San Francisco Chronicle)

August 25: Lake Mead Shows Impacts of Climate Change
(Las Vegas Sun)

August 22: Western Communities Consider Energy-Water Nexus

August 17: Policymakers Must Prepare for Reduced Water Supplies
(Salt Lake Tribune)

July 31: Professor Details Risks to San Diego Water Supplies
(San Diego 6)

July 26: Warming Could Cut Oregon Snowpack In Half
(Science 2.0)

July 14: New York City Lays Out Ambitious Adaptation Plan
(Washington Post)

July 9: Drought, Heat Waves Challenge Southwest Water Management
(USA Today)

June 27: Obama Highlights Water Issues in Climate Speech
(National Geographic)

June 17: Reduced Snowpack Puts Los Angeles at Risk

June 10: New York City Plans for Climate Change, Extreme Weather Impacts
(New York 1)

June 10: Canada's Mackenzie River Basin Vulnerable to Climate Change
(CBC News)

May 16: U.S. Cities at Risk of Climate-Related Water Shortages

May 5: Glaciologist Outlines Climate Change Impacts on Washington State
(The Bellingham Herald)

April 30: Climate Change Could Threaten DC-area Drinking Water Supplies
(Washington Post)

April 24: Nebraska Plans Climate Change Study
(Omaha World-Herald)

April 13: Utility Explains Importance of Water Storage Capacity
(Contra Costa Times)

April 6: Texas Grapples With Adaptation Challenges
(Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

March 6: Massachusetts Plans for Rising Sea Levels, Floods
(MetroWest Daily News)

March 4: Utilities Work Together to Protect Water Supplies
(Orlando Sentinel)

March 1: Climate Change Will Stress Water Resources in Kansas
(Lawrence Journal-World)

February 22: Earlier Snowmelt Means Greater Water Storage Needs
(Loveland (CO) Reporter-Herald)

February 12: Drought Worries Lead to New Water Infrastructure Investments in Seattle

February 12: Connecticut Faces Water Supply Uncertainty
(The CT Mirror)

February 10: New Hampshire Community Develops Adaptation Plan

February 7: New Mexico Reservoir Levels Down
(Santa Fe New Mexican)

February 6: Two Great Lakes Hit Record Lows
(Associated Press)

January 28: Toronto Must Adapt Infrastructure to Climate Change
(Toronto Star)

January 19: Minnesota Urged to Prep for Climate Impacts
(Minneapolis StarTribune)

January 12: Seattle Plans For Impact of Rising Sea Levels on Infrastructure
(Seattle Times)

January 11: Report Predicts Climate Impacts Across U.S.

January 4: Lakes Michigan, Huron at Record Lows
(National Geographic)

January 1: New Mexico's Water Supplies at Risk
(Albuquerque Journal)

December 29: Climate Change to Bring Consequences to Delaware Coast

December 24: Lower Colorado River Flows Predicted

December 12: Study Says Colorado River Insufficient to Meet Western Water Demands
(Washington Post)

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