December Newsline: Climate change costs, U.S. export performance and more

December 2009 Vol. 64 No. 12

Report estimates climate change adaptation costs, impacts to utilities
The National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) and the Association of the Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA) released a report recently detailing the impacts climate change can have on wastewater and drinking water utilities and estimating the adaptation costs for these critical facilities to be between $448 billion and $944 billion through 2050. The associations, which represent the nation’s public wastewater and drinking water agencies, urged Congress and the Obama administration to recognize that climate change is fundamentally about water and to implement policies that will help utilities take timely actions to adapt.
Climate change impacts to wastewater and drinking water utilities, which provide critical economic, public health, and environmental benefits, include sea level rise and extreme flooding that can inundate and incapacitate treatment facilities; water quality degradation and increased treatment requirements; water scarcity and the need to develop new drinking water supplies; and lower flows in drought conditions that can affect the operation of treatment facilities.

Adaptation strategies involve integrating aspects of the constructed and natural water cycle through “water portfolio management” that provides utilities flexibility to craft sustainable approaches to suit their specific needs. Water conservation, new water conveyance and storage, desalination, and wastewater reuse are options to help utilities adapt. In addition, green infrastructure solutions that mimic the natural environment can be used to address stormwater flows at a lower cost while providing the ancillary benefits of providing habitat, recharging aquifers, and enhancing water quality.

For more information, visit: www.nacwa.org and www.amwa.net.

Birmingham mayor found guilty
Larry Langford, former mayor of the city of Birmingham, AL, and a former Jefferson County commissioner, has been found guilty in his federal bribery trial.

Langford’s career spans 32 years beginning as an award-winning television journalist and as mayor of Fairfield, before becoming mayor of Birmingham where he was the driving force behind VisionLand amusement park.