Climate change impacts are already affecting clean water agencies and are projected to grow in the years ahead. Increased intensity of storm events and flooding, the threat of sea level rise at treatment works—traditionally located on low-lying coastal land in a community—and increased attention to water scarcity and reuse are just some of the ways in which clean water agencies are seeing impacts from a rapidly changing climate. As the public and government at all levels becomes more concerned, legislative, regulatory and legal pressures to control greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change impacts will grow. Given the critical services clean water agencies provide in their communities, our sector needs to be closely engaged in climate and resiliency conversations.
NACWA believes that climate change is primarily a water issue. The Association’s advocacy focuses on the interrelationships between water resources and climate change. NACWA is also committed to ensuring that greenhouse gas emissions from wastewater treatment are accurately estimated, and that any efforts that impact the wastewater sector are reasonable
The response to climate change is just one way that modern clean water agencies aligning behind the Utility of the Future concept—advancing beyond the requirements of the Clean Water Act to serve as sustainability leaders in their community and improve their environmental performance. Clean water agencies are innovating in energy efficiency and energy generation, water reuse, green infrastructure and watershed-based approaches.
To locate the most relevant tools for utilities in their climate change adaptation and resiliency efforts, please see NACWA's Climate Resilience Resource Menu (.xls). This is a new resource that will be updated quarterly.
USEPA Climate Resilience Evaluation & Assessment Tool (CREAT), an updated resiliency tool for clean water utilities (October 2016)
The National Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIAC) final report on Water Sector Resilience (June 2016)
NACWA comments to USEPA regarding the Agency’s draft Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2014 (March 2016)
Congressional Clean Water Caucus Capitol Hill briefing, March 16, 2016 on Building Water Resiliency—From Wet Weather to Drought.
NACWA letter to Capitol Hill in support of provisions addressing water supply including water recycling, in the California Drought Relief Act. The Act also references the study of water recycling potential that NACWA and partner organizations carried out last year (March 2016)
Water Sector Forum on Climate Change, Meeting Summary, December 2007