ACWI Climate Change Workgroup Meeting Held This Week

The USGS Advisory Committee on Water Information (ACWI) Water Resources Adaptation to Climate Change Workgroup (WRACCW) held a meeting on January 10-11 in Herndon, Virginia.  Participants at the meeting and members of the workgroup represent a broad array of Water Sector stakeholders, and included ASDWA’s representative, Brandon Kernen of New Hampshire’s Drinking Water Program, and ASDWA staff.  The objective of the meeting was to consider key policy challenges and develop recommendations for the new Administration on actions that Federal agencies should take related to the workgroup’s scope.
The meeting was kicked off with opening remarks by Charles Kovatch, the Deputy Associate Director for Water with the White House Council on Environmental Quality, about the Obama Administration’s actions (including Executive Orders, memos, and a White House Water Summit) to further water related climate resilience efforts, as outlined in the Looking Forward Report and National Action Plan Update on Priorities for Managing Freshwater Resources in a Changing Climate Report.
During the meeting, panelists provided brief presentations and recommendations under each of the following topic areas for discussion and consideration by the whole workgroup.

  • Promoting State Water Resources Planning for Climate Resilience
  • Defining Incentives and Support for Corporate Water Resilience
  • Strengthening Local Flood Reduction Planning, Practices and Measures
  • Promoting Climate Resilience of New Federal Water Infrastructure Investments
  • Improving Planning and Financing of Natural Infrastructure for Climate Resilience

Some of the key recommendations coming from the discussions included the need for continued Federal support of:

  • Data gathering and assessment efforts, especially for long-term monitoring and future precipitation, evapotranspiration, and snowpack projections;
  • Increased funding for state programs and water system infrastructure investments;
  • Communication messages about the economic and public health consequences of climate impacts on water supplies;
  • More frequent monitoring collection timescales, as well as data availability and accessibility, to help corporations determine water supply risk in decision-making processes;
  • A common framework or metrics for corporations to work with government institutions to achieve mutual goals;
  • Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) and watershed based planning to reduce climate risks and coordinate and maximize funding from multiple Federal agency programs;
  • Restoration projects in areas where structures have been removed from floodplains;
  • Tools for integrating flood maps and future flood risk; and
  • Training and policy changes to account for the co-benefits of investments in nature based features, and hybrid natural, green, and grey infrastructure projects.

For more information about the ACWI WRACCW, visit the website HERE.