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Home > Resources > Blog > Posts > Water Quality Impacts of Extreme Weather-Related Events
February 08
Water Quality Impacts of Extreme Weather-Related Events

Climate changes are anticipated to result in the increased frequency and/or intensity of extreme weather-related events.  Typical examples include the increased frequency and severity of hurricanes; however, other events may include prolonged droughts, increases in source water temperatures, and changes in precipitation patterns (increases in intensity and/or changes in timing of runoff) (for more information see the Climate Change Clearinghouse website at  Utilities need to understand and anticipate these types of events and their potential impacts on source water quality in order to help them comply with water quality regulations. By identifying the characteristics of extreme weather-related events, better characterizing the impacts of these events on water quality, and documenting the “lessons learned” from such events, it is anticipated that utilities will be better equipped to identify appropriate adaptive and mitigation strategies to lessen vulnerabilities to such events in the future.  In addition, by better understanding potential impacts, it will be possible to better define potential monitoring strategies to document changes in water quality resulting from climate change. 


In order to assist utilities with adapting to water quality issues associated with climate change and extreme weather-related events, Water Research Foundation funded project 4324 titled Water Quality Impacts of Extreme Weather-Related Events.  The project will:


·         Inventory, categorize, and assess the occurrence of extreme weather-related events affecting participating utilities;

·         Identify and characterize the impacts of extreme weather-related events on source water quality, treatment and distribution processes, and finished water quality;

·         Develop a broadly-applicable Excel-based tool and guidance document to assist large and small utilities with identifying system vulnerabilities, planning for extreme weather-related events, monitoring and documenting such events, and minimizing costs associated with such events; and

·         Develop broad-based findings summaries and recommendations for use by utilities and support entities to understand and adapt to extreme and changing weather, specifically to minimize negative water quality impacts.


Project began in February 2011 and scheduled to be completed early 2013. Water Research Foundation subscribers can follow the project progress by visiting

Project 4324 page.


If you have any questions on this project or other climate change projects funded by the Foundation, please contact Kenan Ozekin at



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