Climate change presents a challenge to traditional water and utility engineering and planning practices because of an increase in the variability and uncertainty of future weather, water supply, and water quality conditions. This webinar will highlight findings from a recent survey and report of 18 U.S., British, Australian, and Canadian water, wastewater, and stormwater utilities about the emerging question of how climate risks and extreme weather events are affecting, or are expected to affect, utility-built assets and infrastructure. It will feature examples of how forward-thinking utilities are responding to and planning for current and future consequences of extreme rainfall, flooding, drought, wildfire, and sea-level rising by building new infrastructure, replacing or repairing assets, and changing operational and treatment processes. The webinar will also share information on cutting-edge processes and tools being applied to quantify future asset risks and incorporate climate change projections into utility planning and asset management programs. Although many of these practices are still at an innovative stage, webinar participants will nonetheless be able to learn from their peer water utilities globally. They can use the insights from this webinar to consider how the climate risks and management solutions could apply to their own drinking water, stormwater, or wastewater systems.
This webinar is valuable because climate change as an issue is provoking a wide array of insightful utility questions and management needs related to asset management, engineering design, and operational planning. Utilities will be challenged to address climate change and extreme weather through the framework of both daily operations and long-term planning.
The webinar will provide knowledge about a developing field in climate change vulnerability assessments for the water sector. Much research and communication has occurred in recent years about climate change impacts to water supplies, but there is a growing interest in impacts to the built infrastructure and systems that utilities use for storage, distribution, conveyance and treatment. Utilities, which may already be experiencing climatic or weather-related impacts to their assets and infrastructure, are most likely going to have to evaluate how to manage and respond to risks in the face of a new climate “normal.”