Climate Change Program
The climate change program at Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) is focused on both climate adaptation and greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation. Over the past several years, the utility has worked nationally with climate researchers to assess how climate change may affect the systems it manages. This includes assessing potential impacts on SPU's water supply, drainage and wastewater systems and how sea level rise may affect infrastructure and service delivery.
As part of its GHG mitigation focus, SPU joined the Climate Registry and has developed and verified its 2009 GHG inventory with the registry. SPU plans to develop and verify its GHG inventory for subsequent years and develop strategies for reducing its GHG emissions.
SPU is also an active leader within the water utility sector on the management implications of climate change. It currently chairs the Water Utility Climate Alliance, a group of ten urban water utilities that collaborate on improving water management decision-making in the face of climate change and is engaged in federal climate initiatives — including the National Climate Assessment. SPU also serves on the advisory council for the Pacific Northwest Climate Impacts Research Consortium.
The utility has recently developed a map showing areas of Seattle that have the potential to be below sea level during high tide in 2050 under different sea level rise and extreme tide scenarios. The sea level rise estimates are based on the University of Washington’s Climate Impacts Group report “Sea Level Rise in the Coastal Waters of Washington State,” January 2008 and account for the National Tidal Datum Epoch 1983-2001 (NTDE 83-01).
Water System Plans
2009 Regional Water Supply Outlook
Water Utility Climate Alliance
National Climate Assessment
Pacific Northwest Climate Impacts Research Consortium
University of Washington Climate Impacts Group