Strategies to Consider
An important resource for possible WRE strategies to assess, plan for, and respond to climate change is the EPA Climate Change Adaptation Resource Center’s Climate Impacts on Water Utilities section. In addition to providing case studies, this website provides water-related adaptation strategies for addressing storms and flooding, drought, source water quality, sea level rise, and general utility preparedness.
Flooding is a major water hazard risk and localities should be mapping these areas and planning to address these conditions in light of climate change. Additionally, flood events increase erosion, damage, debris and pollutant discharges to local waters and the Chesapeake Bay as do dam failures and the built-up sediments that are released in an uncontrolled manner downstream. The WRE should be used to plan for more frequent floods caused by climate change, and to reduce flood induced pollutants to local waters and the Chesapeake Bay with the assistance of the major state agencies responsible for the Comprehensive Flood Control and Watershed Management Program. Flood management strategies to consider in the WRE include:
- Mapping of known problems, including dams and their hazard classifications.
- Avoid hazard creep (e.g., proposed development above and below dams) through land use planning and placing limits on developing these hazard risk, dam inundation areas.
- Identification and mapping of repetitive losses.
- Mapping of the conveyance system including design features.
- Performing watershed studies to identify problems and sources of problems and to recommend solutions.
- Applying for grant money from MDE's Comprehensive Flood Management Grant Program, using the above studies and their recommended solutions as the basis for the application.
Additional strategies to consider including in the WRE include:
- Additional stormwater quantity management in flood prone areas (whether prone to nuisance flooding or large-scale flood events).
- Water reuse strategies.
- Saltwater intrusion mitigation strategies.
- Relocation or elevation of affected and planned infrastructure, where feasible (and other methods listed in the Comprehensive Flood Management Grant Program).
- Preservation/conservation of natural resource lands, wetlands and riparian buffers, and/or implementation of natural resource lands projects that protect vulnerable areas and provide infiltration and flood/storm surge attenuation benefits in water hazard/flood prone areas.
- Examine source water protection opportunities and threats to water supplies, including streams and their buffers due to climate change impacts (e.g., nuisance flooding, intense storms). Protection of source water includes needs for irrigation, drinking water, groundwater input to surface waters, etc.
- In catchments prone to water hazards, evaluate watershed-scale land use controls and BMPs using natural and nature-based features, and other measures to avoid contributing to water resource impacts related to climate change.