The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released an updated online climate change risk assessment tool that assists users in designing adaptation plans based on the types of threats confronting their communities. EPA’s Climate Resilience Evaluation and Awareness Tool (CREAT) is designed for water utilities.
“Water utilities operate on the front lines of climate change and face the challenges of increased drought, flooding and sea level rise. EPA is working to strengthen America’s communities by providing climate preparedness tools like CREAT that local leaders can use to make smart decisions,” said Joel Beauvais, deputy assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Water.
In its updated version, CREAT presents information in a series of intuitive modules, provides climate change projection data, and presents monetized risk results. CREAT’s climate projection map illustrates future climate scenarios including precipitation intensity for a 100-year storm or the number of days per year with temperatures above 100ºF. With this information, utility owners and operators can better prepare for the impacts of climate change.
CREAT was built and updated in consultation with drinking water and wastewater utilities, water sector associations, climate science and risk assessment experts, and multiple federal partners. The tool has been used by a number of communities in their adaptation planning efforts. For example, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Mass. used CREAT to better understand the vulnerability of its wastewater infrastructure and operations while the city of Houston, Texas used the tool to better understand the vulnerability of its surface water supplies.
To access CREAT or to learn more about water sector climate readiness, visit EPA’s Climate Ready Water Utilities initiative.