Putting climate resilience front and center in water utility planning

As a company operating across the world, we encounter global challenges but solutions are always local. And no challenge, global or local, is greater today than climate change.

Climate change has numerous implications many of which manifest in the water cycle; in water supply and water quality. To operate our own business sustainably and to enable a resourceful future for those that we serve we must anticipate the challenges brought about by a changing climate.

We do this in part by collaborating with key stakeholders such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as we are doing in this particular case.

United Water and SUEZ Environnement experts are piloting EPA’s Climate Resilience Evaluation and Awareness Tool at the Haworth Treatment facility in Northern New Jersey which provides water service to nearly 1 million people in the region. The tool which is being implemented throughout the country in more than 20 utilities, establishes likely future scenarios for any given area, based upon scientific data from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).  According to IPCC’s last report, “In many regions, changing precipitation or melting snow and ice are altering hydrological systems, affecting water resources in terms of quantity and quality.”

The process defined in collaboration with EPA will identify ways, for example, to better protect critical pump stations from precipitation events or means by which conservation measures can aid supply management.

With responsibility for securing a resourceful future for 6.7 million people in communities across the United States, we will transfer the knowledge and findings from this project in New Jersey across our network and add to our expertise in delivering responsible climate solutions.

We believe it is important to evolve with the world, which is why innovation is always at the heart of our actions. We regularly conduct research and innovation in partnership with our parent company, clients and government partners to come up with new technologies and solutions that will ensure the availability of water resources for the city and utility of the future.

Using the latest tools to assess the risks, we are well-positioned to adapt to climate change. Whatever happens in the future, improvements decided upon with the data provided by this tool will help us to ensure the quality and continuity of our water service.

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