Climate Change: Preparing water utilities for climate change
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The North Hudson Sewerage Authority facility in Hoboken, NJ, overlooking the Hudson River
(credit: North Hudson Sewerage Authority).
EPA's Climate Ready Water Utilities (CRWU) and Climate Ready Estuaries (CRE) initiatives are working to coordinate their efforts and support climate change risk assessment and adaptation planning. Working with the New York-New Jersey Harbor & Estuary Program and the North Hudson Sewerage Authority, EPA facilitated an exercise using the Climate Resilience Evaluation and Awareness Tool (CREAT) to help collaboratively identify climate change threats, assess potential consequences, and evaluation adaptation options at the utility and in the estuary.
When a water treatment facility’s ability to process sewage is compromised, all adjacent receiving waters may be affected. As climate change is likely to increase overall sea level and the frequency of extreme rain and storm events, it is going to become increasingly challenging to achieve and maintain good water quality in the estuary. The CREAT tool provides a valuable exercise to help facilities identify vulnerabilities (e.g. in capacity or infrastructure) to handle future climate change, so that they may plan ahead by pinpointing ways to build resilience into their facility or operations for the future.
The report about this exercise documents the methodology used and the outcomes so that other water utilities and National Estuary Programs could conduct a similar exercise of their own. The report can be found under the tools and resources tab of the CRWU page - or from this direct link.