EPA Releases Climate Adjustment Tool for Stormwater Management

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As part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan Virtual Climate Resilience Toolkit, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the release of the Climate Adjustment Tool for EPA’s Stormwater Management Model — a widely-used, downloadable online stormwater simulation model. The Climate Adjustment Tool lets engineers and planners evaluate the performance of water infrastructure while considering future climate change projections, such as more frequent high-intensity storms and changes in evaporation rates of seasonal precipitation, to determine the benefits of resiliency decisions to reduce local economic burden and protect communities.

“Climate change means increased risks to our health, our economy and our environment,” says EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “But with the President’s Climate Action Plan, the agency is taking action to advance science-based technology, such as the addition of the Climate Adjustment Tool, to help state and local planners combat the impacts of climate change, especially significant economic burden from severe weather, and protect communities through sustainability and resiliency measures.”

The new tool will enable users to add climate projections based on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s climate change scenarios to existing simulations to determine the quality of water traveling through traditional infrastructure — a system of gutters, storm drains, pipes, channels, collection tanks and storage devices. The tool also has the ability to model the performance of green infrastructure practices, including permeable pavement, rain gardens and green roofs. Engineers and planners are able to accurately represent any combination of traditional and green infrastructure practices within an area to determine their effectiveness in managing stormwater and combined sewer overflows in their community.

View the Virtual Climate Resilience Toolkit here.

EPA’s Stormwater Management Model is used throughout the world for stormwater runoff reduction planning, analysis and design of combined and sanitary sewers and other drainage systems. Originally released decades ago, SWMM is now used in thousands of communities throughout the world, including as the core modeling engine in cities such as Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Indianapolis and Seattle.

To assist community planners and managers in determining resiliency and sustainability actions that will help protect against extreme weather and reduce the local economic burden after a natural disaster, EPA has developed additional tools, including:

EPA’s Stormwater Calculator — a tool that can be used by homeowners, landscapers and developers to estimate the amount of rainwater and frequency of runoff on a specific site based on local soil conditions, land cover, historic rainfall record and climate change scenarios.

EPA’s Climate Resilience Evaluation and Awareness Tool (CREAT) — a tool that assists drinking water and wastewater utility owners and operators understand potential climate change threats and assess the related risks. 


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