Beyond Barriers to Implementation: a Water Sector Perspective on Sea Level Rise Adaptation
Beyond Barriers to Implementation: a Water Sector Perspective on Sea Level Rise Adaptation was developed to provide tangible, replicable practices to help water utility staff and water resource managers advance adaptation efforts in the face of climate change. Sea level rise adaptation is context-specific (e.g., by location, by asset, and by system), and while there is no one-size-fits-all approach to adaptation, there are principles—or leading practices—that may help water sector practitioners move towards on-the-ground implementation.
There are many barriers that prevent adaptation implementation. The most frequently cited adaptation barriers include governance, financial, technical, and social/cultural barriers. These barriers, and suggested strategies to overcome them, are used to frame the content of this guide.
This guide is the outcome of a multi-year Water Utility Climate Alliance (WUCA) project designed to identify leading practices— recognizing that in this emerging dynamic field, “best practices” have yet to be established—to overcome these barriers. EcoAdapt and WUCA have collaborated to create this guide to provide tangible, real-world examples and help identify opportunities for the advancement of sea level rise adaptation measures.
Expertise on adaptation options, common barriers to implementation, and opportunities for advancing action was solicited via a scientific and gray (e.g., white papers, agency reports, and plans) literature review, semi-structured interviews, a practitioner’s forum with over 60 resilience leaders from around the U.S., and from the summation of the lived experience of the following WUCA Sea Level Rise Committee members: Philadelphia Water Department, New York City Department of Environmental Protection, Tampa Bay Water, San Diego County Water Authority, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, and Seattle Public Utilities.
- Provides a high-level overview of the general steps required to initiate sea level rise adaptation and includes resources and tools to support each step
- Details the most frequent challenges encountered when reaching the point of implementation
- Suggests solutions based on leading practices for overcoming barriers, using real-life examples when possible
Guide Cover Art Design: Mike Ball