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Knowledge Area: Climate Change

Our Objective

WERF will evaluate the likely effects of climate change on wastewater services, and will assess processes and technologies to cost-effectively mitigate and adapt to the potential impacts.

Latest News

Austin Plans to Keep Its Cool - Sustainable City Network
This article focuses on how the city of Austin, Texas prepares to tackle climate change through strategic planning, sustainability and innovative practices.
How Water Ready is Your State? - NRDC
Check out this interactive map to see what cities and states are doing to prepare for climate change impacts on water resources. Topics addressed include changes in precipitation patterns, water supply considerations, storm events, sea level rise, saltwater intrusion, flooding, aquatic ecosystem health.
Pairing Wine with Salmon: Climate Lessons from California
This article featured on highlights the effects of the Russian River watershed on the Coho fish population and how crops in the area are affected by extreme weather events.
The 3rd National Climate Assessment - Full Report
The 3rd National Climate Assessment is the most comprehensive report on the impacts of climate change in the U.S. produced to date. Released on May 6, the NCA documents observed and projected climate impacts across regions and economics sectors in the U.S. The presentation will cover the findings of the NCA, with a focus on the water resources chapter, and highlight the observed and projected changes on the water cycle, water uses and implications for water management. The full NCA can be accessed through the above link.
Who Rules California's Russian River?
This article is the first in a two-part series about how NOAA scientists are helping find compromise amid local tensions over water supplies. Part 1 describes scientists' efforts to understand and predict not just the river on land, but its counterpart in the sky—a river that delivers extreme, sometimes drought-busting storms into the heart of California’s wine country. For more information on the Russian River experience with Extreme Events, see WERF report CC7C11, expected to be released spring 2014.

Products & Tools

Water/Wastewater Utilities and Extreme Climate and Weather Events: Case Studies on Community Response, Lessons Learned, Adaptation, and Planning Needs for the Future (CC7C11)
Discusses how water, wastewater, and stormwater utilities – and other local water resource managers – make decisions in response to recent extreme climate/weather events.
The Treatment & Recovery Facility of the Future - Fact Sheet
In a world of limited resources, increasingly severe weather, and a more complex network of entities managing water; treatment facilities must reposition themselves and take on new roles. They need to be able to incorporate the new assets and technologies and continue to evolve in order to address changing needs and future challenges. This fact sheet describes WERF’s efforts to help facilities meet those needs.
OWSO11C10a, Reframing the Economics of Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Projects: Fact Sheet
This fact sheet addresses the financial metrics that can be used to overcome the economic barriers to combined heat and power (CHP) projects. It provides a breakdown of payback period, net present value, benefit cost ratio, internal rate of return, and equivalent uniform annual net value and how they apply to CHP project analysis. Also considers the time value of money, risk analysis, and long-term sustainability. Published by WERF. 8 pages. Printed fact sheet and online PDF. (2012)
OWSO11C10, Barriers to Biogas Use for Renewable Energy
Not all wastewater treatment plants with anaerobic digestion beneficially use their biogas beyond process heating. Knowing this, there must be actual or perceived barriers to broader use of biogas to produce combined heat and power (CHP). This study documented these barriers so that actions can be taken to reduce or remove the barriers that promote energy recovery using proven technology – anaerobic digestion with combined heat and power generation. Includes case studies and biogas factsheet and other materials. Published by WERF. 156 pages. Online PDF. (2012)
Toolbox for Water Utility Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emission Management
The Toolbox, a jointly funded report by the Global Water Research Coalition, the Water Research Foundation, and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, is now available for download. It evaluates and compares process models, impact assessment methods, and performance indicators used by water utilities in North America, Europe, South Africa, and Australia to assess their energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.