Determining Canadian Water Utility Preparedness for the Impacts of Climate Change
General warming and extreme weather events associated with climate change are expected to negatively impact water utilities. Water utilities will need to adapt to continue providing safe drinking water and wastewater services. In 2012, the Canadian Water and Wastewater Association (CWWA) conducted a survey of 53 water utility officials to understand the expert perceptions of climate change risks and preparedness of Canadian utilities for current and future impacts. Results indicated that there is low awareness among water utility officials (30%) of the possible impacts of climate change on water utilities, and more than half have not conducted climate change vulnerability assessments (65%) and do not have operational plans to address climate change impacts (56%). Officials from smaller utilities, which are considered to be more vulnerable to impacts, were of those less aware of these risks and reported taking fewer preparedness activities. Efforts to prepare water utilities for climate change impacts in Canada would benefit from education of utility officials about possible climate change risks, encouraging assessments of vulnerabilities, and increased training with new adaptation tools and resources. (original abstract)
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