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Climate Vulnerability and Adaptation Assessment


San Francisco Public Utilities Commission Wastewater Enterprise

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), through the Sewer System Improvement Program, is upgrading and enhancing the combined sewer system to increase the overall efficiency, reliability, and resilience of the system. Climate change is one of many considerations informing the multi-billion-dollar program.

The Climate Vulnerability and Adaptation Assessment provides information on all Wastewater Enterprise assets, including pump stations, combined sewer discharge outfalls, buried infrastructure (e.g., sewers, force mains, tunnels, transport / storage boxes) and the three treatment plants. The Assessment evaluated when and how the assets are vulnerable to primary climate hazards (sea level rise, storm surge, and precipitation-based flooding) and secondary climate hazards (rising groundwater levels, increasing liquefaction risk, coastal erosion).

The Assessment focused on the integrity of the system by identifying the assets at risk of climate change-related impacts over the next century; the timing of those impacts; and a suite of flood resiliency (e.g., flood barriers, raising electrical equipment, etc.) and adaptation options that can reduce or mitigate the impacts to individual assets and protect the sewer system infrastructure, the environment, and public health.

Climate impacts to communities were quantified using the total population, number of businesses, and the number of critical facilities affected within identified asset-based service areas. Critical facilities were defined as facilities that are vital to flood response activities or critical to the health and safety of the public before, during, and after a flood, such as public safety facilities (e.g., fire stations, police stations, emergency operations centers, etc.), schools, shelters, medical and healthcare facilities, and hospitals.

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