According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), climate change is happening. The Earth is warming, and these rising temperatures are accompanied by changes in weather and climate – two factors that play a very important role in existing and future water supplies. This is why Tampa Bay Water is involved in research to understand climate variability and climate change – to better understand its impact on our existing water supplies and infrastructure, and for future water supply planning.
At the October board of directors meeting, Alison Adams, Ph.D., P.E., chief technical officer at Tampa Bay Water, presented on the Tampa Bay region’s climate change adaptation and resilience planning efforts. Adams reported on the potential impact of sea level rise on water supply facilities located along the coast, the impact of sea level rise on source water quality, and the impact of water temperature changes on potable water delivery and on operation and maintenance of pumps and motors.
In order to better understand how climate change could impact future water supplies, Tampa Bay Water plays a key role in several groups that are developing recommendations for local governments and regional agencies as they respond to climate change and associated sea level rise. These include the Water Utility Climate Alliance (WUCA), the Tampa Bay Climate Science Advisory Panel (CSAP) and the Hillsborough County EPC Climate Adaptation Workgroup.
Planning for the potential impact of climate change is a continuum, not an endpoint. And Tampa Bay Water understands the importance of incorporating potential climate change effects into capital planning and asset management programs as it plans for the future of water supply availability.