Seventh Annual Energy & Resources Conference
Thursday, May 30th - Con Edison Building, NYC


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Challenges and Opportunities in
Climate Change

Abstract: Session 5 - Climate Risk Assessment and Adaptation Planning: Ensuring Services in Rhode Island

Presenter: Hope Herron, Environmental Scientist at Tetra Tech.

Drinking water utilities in Rhode Island face numerous challenges such as aging infrastructure, competing water uses, drought, and pollution that must be addressed to ensure that their customers receive safe, dependable, drinking water. The impacts from global climate change will exacerbate current challenges and present new risks to Rhode Island water utilities and their service areas.

To help respond to these challenges, the Rhode Island Dept. of Health and the Office of Drinking Water Quality, launched SafeWater RI: Ensuring Safe Water for Rhode Island’s Future, which is being led by Tetra Tech, Inc. The objectives of the project are to assess changing environmental conditions (including temperature, precipitation patterns, sea-level rise, and storm surge) and their potential impacts on drinking water utilities in Rhode Island, and to develop strategies to address these changing conditions. The project is helping to address the implications of climate change on drinking water utilities by providing locally relevant and actionable data for water utility managers to evaluate and use to plan for future scenarios.

This presentation will identify the climate risk assessment and adaptation option evaluation strategy that was developed for the SafeWater RI project, as this methodology could be relevant to other municipal and state infrastructure planning efforts. This approach could assist engineers, utility managers, and land use planners to determine how to most cost-effectively adapt to climate-related changes that may have already begun, and to strategically plan for future climate scenarios that could impact system performance and infrastructure.

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