EPA Programs and Initiatives Addressing Climate Change in the Water Sector
- Creating Resilient Water Utilities (CRWU)
- Effective and Sustainable Water Utility Management
- Emergency Response for Drinking Water and Wastewater Utilities
- Green Infrastructure and Low Impact Development
- Sustainable Infrastructure
Water Infrastructure Programs and Initiatives
Creating Resilient Water Utilities (CRWU)
EPA's Creating Resilient Water Utilities (CRWU) initiative is aimed at preparing the water sector, including drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater utilities, for climate change impacts. Extreme weather events, sea level rise, shifting precipitation patterns, and temperature variability, all intensified by climate change, have significant impacts for such utilities. Through the development of easy-to-use tools (including CREAT), this program promotes a clear understanding of how utilities can become more resilient.
Watch how several community drinking water and wastewater utilities are responding to extreme events and planning for their resilient futures:
Camden, New Jersey
Effective and Sustainable Water Utility Management
EPA is working collaboratively with six national organizations that support drinking water and wastewater utilities to promote effective utility management. Attributes of effectively managed water sector utilities were identified by a group of leading water sector utility managers from across the nation. The goal of the Effective Utility Management Initiative is to help utilities address a full range of challenges to move toward sustainable operations and infrastructure.
Emergency Response for Drinking Water and Wastewater Utilities
EPA has developed a variety of guidance documents and other informative resources to support drinking water and wastewater preparedness, response and recovery. The tools and resources available on this site include the new “Flood Resilience: A Basic Guide for Water and Wastewater Utilities.” The Guide helps utilities prepare for the extreme weather events associated with climate change.
Green Infrastructure and Low Impact Development (LID)
The Green Infrastructure site provides tools, case studies, research, and other information to help users learn more about green infrastructure. Green Infrastructure uses natural hydrologic features to manage water and provide environmental and community benefits, including climate change resilience.
The second site focuses on Low Impact Development, which aims to manage stormwater close to the source and includes “green infrastructure” techniques. This website provides fact sheets, reports, videos, and informational resources about low impact development.
EPA is committed to promoting sustainable practices that will help ensure that citizens continue to enjoy the benefits of clean and safe water. Guided by the Agency's Clean Water and Drinking Water Infrastructure Sustainability Policy, EPA is working with stakeholders to help bring about more sustainable practices.
WaterSense is an EPA program that partners with a variety of stakeholders to promote water efficiency. WaterSense works with stakeholders to provide consumers with easy ways to save water through labeled products as well as information resources. WaterSense also encourages innovation in manufacturing to decrease water use and reduce strain on water resources and infrastructure.
Other Water Programs and Initiatives
Climate Ready Estuaries (CRE)
EPA's Climate Ready Estuaries (CRE) program works with the National Estuary Programs and the coastal management community. CRE helps these groups assess climate change vulnerabilities, develop and implement adaptation strategies, and engage and educate stakeholders. The program helps coastal managers and other place-based organizations by providing technical assistance by providing tools such as the "Being Prepared for Climate Change" workbook.
EPA's Healthy Watersheds program proactively protects aquatic ecosystems through watershed protection. This systems approach protects aquatic biota and their habitat as well as watershed characteristics and processes that support them. Vegetative riparian corridors and headwaters, hydrology, geomorphology, and natural disturbance regimes are specific focus areas of this program. Healthy Watersheds also addresses pervasive threats to watersheds including climate change.
Water Quality Models and Tools
This website contains a variety of tools and models ideal for water utility and watershed professionals. Models and tools found here simulate the movement of precipitation and pollutants from the ground surface through pipe and channel networks, and to receiving waters. Both single-event and continuous simulation may be performed on catchments having storm sewers and natural drainage, for prediction of flows, stages, and pollutant concentrations.