Climate Change Research

2013 - Present

The Drainage and Wastewater Climate Resiliency Study intends to determine the sensitivity of Seattle Public Utilities' (SPU's) drainage and wastewater system to the combined effects of extreme precipitation and sea-level rise. The focus of the work still under development will be to achieve future environmental compliance and develop adaptation options.

2012 - Present

Piloting Utility Modeling Applications is a collaborative effort between several utilities and climate researchers to use climate data to assess impacts on water supply. SPU is obtaining the "next generation" of climate data, downscaled to our watersheds, and generating climate-altered hydrologic scenarios to update our assessment of climate impacts on water supply and urban drainage. The work is being conducted in partnership with the Oregon State University's Climate Impacts Research Consortium and will inform SPU's evaluation of adaptation options.

2010 - Present

SPU is part of an European Union-funded project called PREPARED, which is focused on developing advanced strategies to meet anticipated challenges in the water supply sector and sanitation sectors brought about by climate change.


As a part of the Washington State Climate Impacts Assessment, the Climate Impacts Group provided dynamically downscaled data (pdf) used to run an urban hydrology model.


SPU's second partnership with the Climate Impacts Group selected three climate model and emission scenario pairings and provided a broad range of future scenarios for the region. The data was used to evaluate impacts to supply and demand, and develop a suite of adaptation options. SPU updated the results of this study and included the results in its 2013 Water System Plan (pdf)


The University of Washington's Climate Impacts Group provided SPU with statistically downscaled data that explored methods and uncertainties, and was used to evaluate impacts to water supply. The results of this study were in included in SPU's 2007 Water System Plan (pdf).