CLIMATE  CHANGE
                           Considerations for
                           Water  Infrastructure  Projects
                         U.S. EPA   |   CLIMATE  CHANGE  OUTREACH  AT  EPA  NEW  ENGLAND
                     WATER    RESOURCES:    Future   changes   to
                   temperature and precipitation patterns will have a significant effect
               on the way we manage our water resources.  Based on the Northeast
 Climate Impacts Assessment report from 2006, New England will experience the following
 over the next century: longer, hotter, drier summers; shorter, warmer winters; fewer rain
 events with more frequent and intense storms; and, rising sea level.
INTRO:
Climate change is already occurring and is expected to have a wide range of consequences on water and waste-
water treatment in New England. By considering the potential effects of climate change, investments in flood
preparedness, drought preparedness, and asset management can be made today to decrease future risks.
INVESTING  IN  PREPAREDNESS:
With storms being more intense and concentrated in the
winter months, runoff will increase and accumulate faster,
thereby increasing the risk of flooding for important water
infrastructure, especially in the northern part of the region.
Drinking water and wastewater utilities can minimize their
risk by relocating critical infrastructure above  potential
flood levels and out of flood plains, which are expected to
expand with climate change.

Higher temperatures and fewer rain  events in the sum-
mer will increase the risk of short-term droughts (lasting
1 to 3 months) to almost once a year. Utilities can prepare
for these conditions by evaluating drinking water storage
capacity and considering the  need for additional storage
or back-up supplies. It is also  important to ensure water
conservation plans are  well understood and  updated as
needed.

Compiling an  inventory of utility assets (i.e., any compo-
nent with an independent physical and functional identity
and age, such  as pumps, motors, intakes, tanks, or mains)
can help you determine the location, importance and con-
dition of each  asset. This knowledge will ultimately lead to
an improved response in emergency situations, more pre-
dictable maintenance and capital replacement budgets, and
improved security of your system.

Finally, utilities should educate both the public and rate-
payers on what is being done and what to expect from
climate change impacts. Public support is critical to the
                                    implementation   of  preparedness  adaptations  and
                                    improvements.

                                    GREEN PROJECTS:
                                    Encouraging water efficiency can minimize or delay the need
                                    for system expansion and can reduce energy use, thereby
                                    saving utilities money.  It  can also help reduce the overall
                                    water demand during peak demand and drought periods
                                    and works to conserve available water resources for long-
                                    term  use.

                                    Implementing measures for energy efficiency can help to
                                    both  save money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
                                    Utilities can improve energy efficiency by making improve-
                                    ments to infrastructure (e.g.,  pumping stations, collection
                                    systems), getting an energy audit to improve efficiency, or by
                                    using  renewable energy sources.

                                    Investing in green infrastructure projects, such as low impact
                                    development (LID), can  help manage wet weather to
                                    improve water quality, reduce the amount of stormwater
                                    entering combined sewers, and reduce the risk of flooding.

                                    Climate change impacts can stress natural ecosystems and
                                    compromise their ability to provide valuable ecosystem ser-
                                    vices,  such as flood protection, dean water, and water storage.
                                    Managing ecosystem quality and sensitive areas in a utility's
                                    watershed can protect water quality and minimize flood risks.
                                    Utilities can consider partnerships with local conservation orga-
                                    nizations or land trusts that may be able to assist in planning
                                    and financing of source water protection activities.
KEY CONTACT:

JACKIE LECLAIR
Manager
Municipal Assistance Unit
U.S. EPA New England
(617) 918-1549
leclair.jackie@epa.gov
GENERAL  INFO:


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              November 2009
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