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Meridian Institute

EPA’s Creating Resilient Water Utilities Initiative

External Project Site: www.epa.gov/crwu
Related: Climate Change, Resilience

Since 2014, Meridian has facilitated a variety of stakeholder engagement activities for the Creating Resilient Water Utilities (CRWU) initiative of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The CRWU’s Climate Resilience Evaluation and Awareness Tool (CREAT) 3.0 Working Group, for example, involved both in-person and virtual meetings through which water utility, water association, and federal agency representatives provided input on enhancements to the next version of the CREAT software. CREAT is a decision support tool that allows utilities to conduct climate risk assessments using current climate data and model projections. CREAT also helps utilities develop and assess the potential risk reduction value of different adaptation plans. Meridian also facilitated on-site engagements with two utilities that volunteered to pilot and provide feedback on the beta version of CREAT 3.0. 

In 2015, Meridian designed and facilitated another working group process in which trainers and technical assistance providers from different member organizations of the Rural Community Assistance Partnership provided input on enhancements to the second version of the EPA’s Workshop Planner: Climate Change and Extreme Events Adaptation. The Workshop Planner is a free tool that provides informational resources, materials, and functionality to help water sector utilities and/or communities plan and execute workshops focused on climate adaptation planning. The updated Workshop Planner features a user-friendly process and enhanced functionality. Meridian contributed to the revision of the guidance language and the materials provided in the updated tool.

Meridian continues to facilitate the planning and delivery of interactive workshops for the CRWU initiative in which water and wastewater utility operators, consultants, and state and federal agency representatives explore strategies for enhancing the resilience of water and wastewater utilities to extreme weather events and long-term climate impacts. The workshops feature climate science experts’ presentations, utility case study presentations, and hands-on training with CRWU resources. To date Meridian has facilitated CRWU workshops in Seattle; Los Angeles; Dallas; Portland, Oregon; Pueblo Santa Ana, New Mexico; Des Moines, Iowa; Lenexa, Kansas; Edison, New Jersey; Belmar, New Jersey; and Charleston, South Carolina.

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