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Climate and Global Change Team Contributes to Water Resources National Action Plan

Published Jan. 9, 2012
Graphic of National Action Plan Report Cover

Graphic of National Action Plan Report Cover

ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA - January 9, 2012.  The Council on Environmental Quality’s Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force recently released its 2011 progress report and the final National Action Plan (NAP): Priorities for Managing Freshwater Resources in a Changing Climate. USACE IWR’s Climate and Global Change team contributed to writing the plan and led the team that developed integrated water resources management (IWRM) recommendations. The goal of the NAP is that “Government agencies and citizens collaboratively manage freshwater resources in response to a changing climate in order to ensure adequate water supplies, to safeguard human life, health and property, and to protect water quality and aquatic ecosystems.”  The plan includes six recommendations:

  • Establish a planning process to adapt water resources management to a changing climate;
  • Improve water resources and climate change information for decision-making;
  • Strengthen assessment of vulnerability of water resources to climate change;
  • Expand freshwater use efficiency;
  • Support integrated water resources management (IWRM, USACE lead); and
  • Support training and outreach to build capability to adapt to climate change.

The Honorable Jo-Ellen Darcy, Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works), is the USACE representative to the task force. IWR’s Climate and Global Change Team supports Ms. Darcy on several of the task force’s efforts.

USACE is leading the interagency team that will implement three integrated water resources management (IWRM) actions in the NAP, including:

  • Action 17: “Work with States and interstate bodies (e.g., River Basin Commissions) to incorporate IWRM into planning and programs, paying particular attention to climate change adaptation issues.”
  • Action 19: “Working with States, review flood risk management and drought management planning to identify “best practices” to prepare for hydrologic extremes.”  The USACE Silver Jackets program is specifically mentioned as a proactive effort to better coordinate flood risk management.
  • Action 20: “Develop benchmarks for incorporating adaptive management into water project designs, operational procedures, and planning strategies.”

USACE is co-leading one action on climate training for water managers with the Bureau of Reclamation and NOAA:

  • Action 21: “Establish a core training program on climate change science for local, Tribal, and State water resources managers.” A climate change training program for water managers started as an initiative of the Climate Change and Water Working Group (CCAWWG), of which USACE is a founding agency member.  The Responses to Climate Change Program team is participating in the development of this training.

Additionally, USACE is co-leading three actions concerned with climate and water data that will provide an opportunity to integrate other Federal sources of data and tools with the Federal Support Toolbox:

  • Action 6: “Provide coastal states/communities with information to identify areas likely to be inundated by sea level rise.”
  • Action 9: “Develop a Federal internet portal to provide information on water resources and climate change.”
  • Action 16: “Enhance coordination among current Federal water efficiency programs and create a toolbox of key practices.”

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