Water Utility Climate Alliance

Scaling and Application of Climate Projections for Stormwater and Wastewater Resilience Planning, Contiguous United States

Pathways is supporting the Water Utility Climate Alliance address the fundamental gap between climate modeling in the research and academic space and the practical use of this information by planners, engineers, and decision makers. Closing this gap is critical, especially considering that utilities across the country are investing billions of dollars to upgrade aging infrastructure. The project includes identifying and summarizing best available methods and tools currently used by water, stormwater, and wastewater utilities with respect to historic precipitation data and future precipitation projections; characterizing the major challenges with using future precipitation projections, developing case studies of best practices and utility-research organization collaborations, and documenting the findings in an easy-to-read report and at least one journal publication.

San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), San Francisco International Airport (SFO), and the Port of San Francisco (Port)

Surviving the Storm: Extreme Precipitation

Pathways Climate Institute, in collaboration with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), is evaluating how future extreme storms may change in the San Francisco Bay Area under future climate conditions. Understanding how extreme events may change has remained a critical data gap for climate adaptation planning in the Bay Area. In this study, the Pathways/LBNL team will model four historic storm events that resulted in storm-related damage and disruption for the SFPUC, SFO, and/or the Port. The storms will be modeled on LBNL’s super computer system – one of the larger super computers in the world. After the storms have been suitably calibrated to match existing conditions, the storms will be modeled under future climate conditions to assess how the storms may change under a warming climate.

US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP)

The Fourth National Climate Assessment

The National Climate Assessment is a Congressionally-mandated report that is updated every four years to assess and inform the Nation about the impacts of climate variability and climate change on the U.S., as well as presenting what is being done, and what can be done, to minimize impacts and risks. Dr. Kris May served as a Regional Chapter Lead and Lead Author. She leads a team of 12 Federal and academic scientists focusing on current climate variability and future climate risks, impacts on jobs and communities, the natural and built environments, and frontline communities – the communities anticipated to feel the impacts of a changing climate first and the worst.

The City of Alameda

City of Alameda Groundwater Assessment

Pathways and UC Berkeley collaborated on the development of a regional shallow groundwater layer for the San Francisco Bay Area using groundwater monitoring well data collected for the Regional Water Quality Control Board (Plane et al, 2019). The regional dataset highlights areas around the Bay where the existing groundwater surface is within 2 meters of the ground surface. As sea levels rise, the groundwater surface will also rise, and these areas are at the greatest risk of flooding due to emergent groundwater. The City of Alameda is one of these at-risk areas. However, due to sparse well data within the city limits, and a strong tidal and precipitation influence within the Alameda soils, improvements to the data set are required to better inform climate adaptation efforts. Silvestrum is currently developing 3 data sets for the City of Alameda: an estimate of the wet-season groundwater surface (i.e., the highest groundwater surface observed during very wet winters); an estimate of the dry-season groundwater surface (i.e., the lowest groundwater surface observed during dry summers and period of drought); and contaminant mapping of water quality constituents with concentrations above human-health benchmarks. Area with sparse data will be supplemented with geotechnical soil boring data collected throughout the City and the Oakland International Airport.