Many managers of urban water utilities have only a limited understanding of climate change and how it may affect their ability to continue serving their customers' needs in a cost-effective and environmentally sustainable manner. This knowledge gap impelled the American Water Works Research Foundation (AwwaRF) to seek NCAR's assistance in providing information to municipal water industry professionals about climate change, its implications for the drinking water industry and strategies to plan most effectively to manage those impacts.
In response to this request, RAL scientists Kathleen Miller and David Yates developed a program to engage urban water providers in developing an educational resource for the drinking water industry about climate change and its potential impacts on water supplies and the operation of urban water systems. The project began with a workshop involving representatives of major urban water utilities in the U.S., Canada, and Europe as well as scientists from NCAR, the university community, government agencies and consulting firms. The project team then worked with industry representatives to develop material for the educational resource — a book and accompanying CD. The book, Climate Change and Water: A Primer for Municipal Water Providers, alerts urban drinking-water professionals to the fact that global climate change may have large impacts on the availability, quality, and cost of water to meet consumer demands.