The State of Climate Adaptation in Water Resources Management: Southeastern United States and U.S. Caribbean

The intent of this report is to provide a brief overview of key climate change impacts and a review of the prevalent work occurring on climate change adaptation in the Southeastern United States and U.S. Caribbean, especially focusing on activities as they relate to water resources. The Southeastern United States includes Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Arkansas, and Florida. Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) comprise the U.S. Caribbean region. This report presents the results of EcoAdapt’s efforts to survey, inventory, and, where possible, assess climate-informed water resources action in the region.

The synthesis includes:

  • A summary of key regional climate change impacts and discussion on how the aforementioned issues combine to influence water supply, demand and use, quality, and delivery;
  • The results of a survey sent to federal, tribal, state, and other practitioners to identify challenges, needs, and opportunities for climate-informed water resources management;
  • Examples of adaptation initiatives from the region, focusing on activities in the natural and built environments as they relate to water resources;
  • Eighteen full-length case studies, detailing how adaptation is taking shape; and
  • A guide to the current suite of tools available to support adaptation action in water resources management, planning, and conservation.

Time of Emergence

Location

United States
46° 14' 8.106" N, 121° 0' 38.6856" W
US
Tool Overview: 

This tool aims to support climate change risk assessment and decision-making by providing quick and readily accessible information about when and where climate change could matter across the Pacific Northwest. This is a new approach to delivery of climate change information that focuses on identifying the time when climate change causes local conditions to deviate significantly from the past, which we call the Time of Emergence of climate change.

Climate & Disaster Risk Screening Tools

Tool Overview: 

The Climate and Disaster Risk Screening Tools developed by the World Bank, provide a systematic, consistent, and transparent way of considering short- and long-term climate and disaster risks in project and national/sector planning processes. Screening is an initial, but essential, step to ensure these risks are assessed and managed to support mainstreaming of climate and disaster resilience into key development policies, programs, and projects. 

Climate Change Resilience Roadmap

Tool Overview: 

To mitigate hazards and risks, the Resilience Roadmap offers comprehensive guidance for federal, state, and local entities to effectively convene at the regional level for adaptable and holistic planning. This multi-jurisdictional approach requires major cooperation across boundaries, considerable reliance on partnerships and multi-agency collaborations, and significant utilization of interdisciplinary teams.

Step-by-Step Process

To constructively lead intergovernmental planning efforts with tangible outputs, follow these steps in order:

Southern California Climate Adaptation Project

Location

CA
United States
34° 21' 19.0908" N, 116° 54' 41.9544" W
California US
Summary: 

The Southern California Climate Adaptation Project was initiated to improve understanding about the vulnerability of important southern California habitats to climate change and to develop adaptation strategies designed to reduce vulnerabilities and/or increase resilience of habitats. This project used a collaborative, stakeholder-driven process that involved soliciting input from land and resource managers, conservation practitioners, scientists, and others from federal and state agencies, universities, and nongovernmental organizations.

How does the weather affect your life? Is it just about getting out and about at weekends? Or does it impact your work, your livelihood or even your health?

Right across the world, every single day, people make decisions based on the weather. We provide weather and climate forecasts to help with those decisions so people can be safe, well and prosperous. Everything we do is based on world-leading science and enhanced by the close working relationships we have with partner organisations around the globe.

NIST Community Resilience Economic Decision Guide for Buildings and Infrastructure Systems

This Economic Guide provides a standard economic methodology for evaluating investment decisions aimed to improve the ability of communities to adapt to, withstand, and quickly recover from disruptive events. The Economic Guide is designed for use in conjunction with the NIST Community Resilience Planning Guide for Buildings and Infrastructure Systems, which provides a methodology for communities to develop long-term plans by engaging stakeholders, establishing performance goals for buildings and infrastructure systems, and developing an implementation strategy, by providing a mechanism to prioritize and determine the efficiency of resilience actions. The methodology described in this report frames the economic decision process by identifying and comparing the relevant present and future streams of costs and benefits—the latter realized through cost savings and damage loss avoidance—associated with new capital investment into resilience to those future streams generated by the status-quo. Topics related to non-market values and uncertainty are also explored. This report provides context for increasing resilience capacity through focusing on those investments that target key social goals and objectives, and providing selection criteria that ensure reduction of risks as well as increases in resilience. Furthermore, the methodological approach aims to enable the built environment to be utilized more efficiently in terms of loss reduction during recovery and to enable faster and more efficient recovery in the face of future disasters.

Tribal Energy System Vulnerabilities to Climate Change and Extreme Weather

Climate change and extreme weather events are already affecting the way that American Indian and Alaska Native tribes are using, receiving, and producing energy. As climate change worsens, energy infrastructure in the United States—including tribal energy infrastructure—is expected to be increasingly threatened by higher temperatures, less available water, and more frequent and intense heavy downpours, floods, heat waves, and droughts. Tribal energy systems are also vulnerable to extreme weather events, such as thunderstorms, tornadoes, and winter storms, which can severely damage infrastructure that tribes rely on to deliver power and fuel. This report describes vulnerabilities of tribal energy systems related to both climate change and extreme weather.

Mapping Coastal Risks and Social Vulnerability: Current Tools and Legal Risks

Extreme weather events and nuisance ooding are increasing, with communities already experiencing impacts. Both the identi cation of local hazards and the assessment of local vulnerabilities can protect people, their property, and their livelihoods.

The goal of this project, along with the accompanying paper Mapping Coastal Risks and Social Vulnerability: Principles and Considerations, is to provide an overview for local governments of the social vulnerability data sets that are currently available, how social vulnerability is currently being used and could be used, and what legal risks might be associated with utilizing it. A typical factor used to determine social vulnerability is race or ethnicity. e use of race speci cally raises legal concerns, primarily based on the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution. In this paper, we discuss the equal protection analysis framework and the potential legal challenges associated with using race as a factor in in making decisions based on maps or other decision-support tools that include social vulnerability criteria.