Using better data to identify climate change-related infrastructure vulnerabilities in canadian communities2018-11-07T10:17:30+00:00

Canadian Water Network, Canadian Water and Wastewater Association, Federation of Canadian Municipalities, PSD (2018-2019)

Challenge

Asset management plans support municipalities and utilities in defining and maintaining levels of service, identifying and minimizing lifecycle costs, and planning ahead for asset replacement and expansion. Strong asset management programs are therefore critical to supporting financial sustainability and helping to address funding shortfalls due to historic underinvestment in infrastructure maintenance. Having a clearer picture of municipal water systems is also increasingly seen as an opportunity to improve system resiliency to climate change.

In 2017, Canadian Water Network partnered with PSD and the Canadian Water and Wastewater Association to research what asset data is being collected by Canadian municipalities and utilities and how it is being used to support water infrastructure planning. The survey found that both large and small municipalities are increasingly employing asset management practices, but that they are not regularly updated, and are largely populated with subjective datasets that do not give an accurate assessment of asset condition, which impacts confidence in the data for decision-making. When it comes to assessing the impacts of climate change, high quality asset information is essential to understanding infrastructure vulnerability. Key information that utility managers need to know includes:

  • What types of climate-related risks should be considered?
  • What types of data are needed to help identify climate related vulnerabilities?
  • What approaches are leading utilities taking in Canada to advance in this area?

Project Description

Canadian Water Network, in partnership with the Canadian Water and Wastewater Association, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and PSD, is compiling a report with five case studies of Canadian municipalities who are incorporating climate change considerations in their asset data collection and analysis. The municipalities selected for these case studies will reflect representative Canadian utilities in terms of size, location and climate change risk posed to municipal water and wastewater systems.

The case studies will highlight what types of data are necessary to assess vulnerabilities to critical risks such as flooding and wildfire, and how these data are collected and analyzed by municipalities to inform decision-making on risk reduction and adaptation. The report will discuss how the municipalities selected for the case studies overcame any initial challenges to implementation and provide a roadmap for potential adoption by other municipalities.

Project Outputs

  • In 2019, a report will be released highlighting municipal strategies that use data to better understand climate change-related risks to water and wastewater systems, identify system vulnerabilities and prioritize investments.

  • PSD, with the support of the project partners, will host a national webinar in 2019 featuring a panel of water leaders from the case study communities.

  • Canadian Water Network will distribute print copies of the report at Blue Cities 2019: Embracing Change in Water Management.

  • The Canadian Water and Wastewater Association will feature the report during a panel discussion at the 2019 National Water and Wastewater Conference.

Get Involved

If you are interested in learning more about this joint research project or if your municipality/utility has insights to share regarding the use of better data to identify climate change vulnerabilities, please contact us at info@psdrcs.com.

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