Utilities have become more adept at assessing how climate change may directly affect drinking water reliability and quality. However, this is only the beginning of the conversation if a full assessment of climate-related risks is considered across business functions. This project will investigate how both individual and cascading climate risks may affect, and should inform, business practices, energy use and supply, capital investment decisions, purchasing and supply chain issues, asset management programs, employee and customer service issues, emergency management, and more. Limiting the consideration of climate change to the direct impacts of individual climate drivers can “silo” the issue of climate change as an external, physical factor and impede the mainstreaming of addressing the “climate question” across the entire enterprise of a utility.
The goal of this research project is to conduct a robust decision mapping process resulting in the development, testing, and communication of a replicable Water Utility Business Resilience Framework that utilities can use to create an enterprise-wide understanding and prioritization of the exposure, sensitivities, and opportunities that utility business functions face in a changing climate. This framework will allow utilities to accelerate the incorporation of climate considerations into everyday utility management. Research Partners: Water Utility Climate Alliance, Denver Water.