Applicants are now being invited to submit project proposals for Making the Case for Climate‐Resilient Water Infrastructure and Supporting Strategies.
This project is co-funded by the Water Research Foundation (WRF) and Water Utility Climate Alliance (WUCA) as part of WRF’s Emerging Opportunities Program.
Climate adaptation/resilience is one challenge within a complicated web of regulatory compliance, environmental stewardship, affordability, and asset management challenges facing water utilities today. Thus, the decision-support tool should integrate key climate factors, as well as consider other adjacent factors:
- Climate projections and their inherent uncertainty
- Asset management, identification of vulnerability hotspots, and sensitivity of assets to climate change impacts
- Risk mitigation priorities
- Climate resilience/level of service goals
- Adaptive management approaches and opportunities to distribute risk mitigation investments over time based on climate change outcomes
- Thorough consideration of costs and benefits, including operations and maintenance costs, direct and indirect benefits (e.g., social costs and benefits, such as reduced public health costs, reduced insurance premiums), and avoided future costs under different climate scenarios.
- To develop water sector‐specific guidance, including a decision-support tool on how to make a case for investments in climate‐resilient stormwater, wastewater, and drinking water infrastructure, considering both structural approaches (i.e., physical assets) and non‐ structural approaches (e.g., codes and standards).
- To advance quantitative approaches to utility decision-making about climate resilient capital projects, as well as other approaches within the web of complex challenges facing water utilities today.
- To enhance stakeholder engagement and education by incorporating a collaborative component in the decision-support tool, enabling utilities to engage community members, utility staff, and peer agencies around climate-resilient water investments.
- Applicants may request up to $100,000 in WRF funds for this project. In-kind support is encouraged, though not required.
- Project Duration: The anticipated period of performance for this project is 15 months from the contract start date.
The desired outcomes of this project are:
- develop a comprehensive framework to maximize the effectiveness of water utilities’ limited resources and ratepayer funds, ensure the long-term sustainability of water services, and promote climate-resilient, multi-beneficial solutions;
- advance quantitative approaches to promoting climate-resilient infrastructure and approaches in concert with competing utility objectives; and
- enhance utilities’ ability to communicate with and engage stakeholders about climate adaptation investments and approaches.
- A stand-alone literature review synthesis document, including annotations for the list of publications and resources used.
- Utility-facing research report that presents the decision-support tool in an easy-to-navigate format. In addition, the report should include utility case studies and a chapter summarizing knowledge gaps, research needs, and preliminary project concepts for recommended research projects in the future.
- Stand-alone case study summaries from at least two utilities following the tool’s framework for making the case for climate‐resilient investments.
- PowerPoint presentation to be given at two webcasts, including infographics that can help communicate research findings to water utilities.
- Proposals will be accepted from domestic or international entities, including educational institutions, research organizations, governmental agencies, and consultants or other for-profit entities.
- Researchers who are late on any ongoing WRF-sponsored studies without approved no-cost extensions are not eligible to be named participants in any proposals.
- WRF encourages participation from water utilities and other organizations in WRF research. Participation can occur in a variety of ways, including direct participation, in-kind contributions, or in-kind services.
For more information, visit WRF.