These expansions push salty water into
the water Floridians use for drinking,
challenging traditional treatment
technologies. In the past, the state turned to
expensive reservoirs and energy-intensive
desalination plants to cope with freshwater
shortages. In the future, suppliers may need
to consider other options such as treating
wastewater for reuse.
“Every U.S. water supplier will be affected by
climate change,” said Kenan Ozekin, PhD, a
Foundation senior project manager.
our water supplies,” Dr. Ozekin said. “We
are trying to understand what is happening,
and how to help utilities.”
In 2003, long before the issue of climate
change was widely recognized by utilities,
the Foundation began studying its impact
on water supplies. By 2008, the Foundation
had selected climate change as one of our
multi-year Strategic Research Initiatives.
Between 2003 and 2009, we have funded
more than 20 studies with a value of $4
million into research about the issue.
Here’s a look at key research:
Climate change is likely to trigger
unpredictable rains and floods in some
areas, making it a challenge to treat and
store water. In other areas, hotter weather
and decreased rainfall will reduce water
supply and increase customer demand.
“Whether you call it climate change, climate
shift, global warming or something else,
these changes are happening and affecting
Current climate change models lack the
resolution to document how individual
watersheds will change. To plan, utilities
need accurate regional climate models to
understand the impacts of climate change
on their watersheds. We are communicating
utilities’ needs to federal agencies working
on climate models.