Drinking Water

Extreme Events and Climate Adaptation of
Drinking Water Utilities 

Water suppliers throughout California face challenges of continued and future droughts and other extreme events. Climate change is expected to amplify these threats. The current drought highlights the vulnerability of drinking water systems (referred to here as utilities). Even if the drought emergency is no longer declared, water utilities throughout the state may remain vulnerable to the current drought until supplies are restored. The research team will be interviewing utility managers and operators about their experiences

Project Goal: The overarching project goal is to document utility needs for improving resilience to water scarce conditions in the face of climate change and uncertainty. Utilities vary in size, source water reliance, level of self-sufficiency, location and expected exposure to extreme events, and governance or management structure. The project seeks to identify and investigate barriers to and possibilities for adaptation by California’s range of utilities.  In doing so, we seek to inform local, regional, and state climate policies that enable utilities to overcome barriers to adaptation.

Project Objectives:

  1. Document climate adaptation measures under consideration by utilities and their perceived effectiveness.
  2. Identify the barriers to adaptation and drought resilience
  3. Identify information needed by utilities for climate preparedness
  4. Summarize lessons-learned by utilities and actions taken during the current drought