Flooding, significant rain events, and even drought are potential threats to Capital Region Water’s ability to provide safe, reliable drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater service. Although Capital Region Water’s service area has been through several flooding events in recent history, climate forecasting predicts that flooding events will become more frequent in the region.
In March, Capital Region Water’s Board of Directors passed a resolution to act proactively and begin planning for organizational climate resiliency.
Planning for Climate Resiliency
CREAT is a software tool to assist drinking water and wastewater utility owners and operators in understanding potential climate change threats and in assessing the related risks at their individual utilities. From November 2014 to June 2015, Capital Region Water staff engaged in a series of webinars and an in-person meeting to conduct a climate risk assessment using CREAT.
Staff performed risk assessments for a number of threats including the risk of prolonged drought on water supply, high flow events at DeHart Reservoir, and the impacts of Susquehanna River flooding on Capital Region Water’s alternate raw water intake structure, wastewater pump stations, and the wastewater treatment plant.
Based on the results of their CREAT risk analysis of drought and flooding threats on their water and wastewater and assets, Capital Region Water is considering a number of potential adaptive measures that will increase their resilience to these threats including hydrologic barriers, flood water diversion, equipment retrofits, flood risk management plan, climate training for personnel, elevating electrical equipment, replacing pumps with submersibles and backflow prevention at pump stations. To facilitate continued water and wastewater treatment during extreme events, CRW has also identified securing backup power for these critical assets.
To learn more about Climate Ready Water Utilities visit: http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/watersecurity/climate/.