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Climate Action Plan Toolkit: EPA Releases Stormwater Climate Change Tool

Release Date: 02/13/2015
Contact Information: Cathy Milbourn, milbourn.cathy@epa.gov, (202) 564-7849; Contacto en español: Lina Younes, younes.lina@epa.gov, 202-564-9924, 202-565-4355

WASHINGTON – As part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan Virtual Climate Resilience Toolkit, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 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 allows engineers and planners to 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,” said 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.

Stormwater runoff is a major environmental problem resulting in flooding, erosion, and contaminated waters. Every year billions of gallons of raw sewage, trash, household chemicals, fertilizers, and urban runoff flow into our streams, rivers and lakes. Polluted stormwater runoff can adversely affect plants, animals, and people.

The Climate Adjustment Tool, in addition to other tools in the President’s Climate Action Plan Virtual Climate Resilience Toolkit, can help users make planning, analysis, and design decisions that will guard against the impacts of climate change. Using these tools to choose the best adaptation options is an innovative and efficient way to promote healthy waters and support more sustainable communities. View the Virtual Climate Resilience Toolkit here: http://toolkit.climate.gov/tools

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 records, and climate change scenarios.
For more information on the complementary National Stormwater Calculator, visit:
http://www2.epa.gov/water-research/national-stormwater-calculator

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. For more information on the Climate Resilience Evaluation and Awareness Tool, visit:
http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/watersecurity/climate/creat.cfm

For additional information about the Stormwater Management Model and Climate Adjustment Tool, visit

http://www2.epa.gov/water-research/storm-water-management-model-swmm

For more information about the President’s Climate Action Plan, visit
http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/image/president27sclimateactionplan.pdf

For more information on EPA’s Green Infrastructure research, visit
http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/greeninfrastructure/index.cfm

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