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What is Climate Preparedness and Resilience?

Water resource managers must be able to be responsive to events not seen in the past, surprises, and other unexpected events, both natural and socioeconomic. In order to maintain the benefit of existing and proposed water resource projects in the changing climate, water resources managers must move from an expectation that the future will be similar to the past — or stationary — paradigm to one that more explicitly accounts for the dynamic nature of physical and socioeconomic processes.

Climate change is one of many global changes USACE faces in carrying out its missions to help manage the nation's water resources infrastructure. Water resource managers must make decisions that rely upon assumptions about future supplies, demands, weather, climate, and operational constraints at varying space and time scales. These decisions are made within the presence of various degrees of uncertainty. USACE must provide our stakeholders and partners with data and information that allows them to make risk-informed decisions as well.

The USACE climate preparedness and resilience goal is to develop practical, nationally consistent and regionally tailored, legally justifiable and cost-effective adaptation measures, both structural and nonstructural, that will reduce vulnerabilities and improve resilience to these challenges (USACE Climate Change Adaptation Plan and Report 2011). Recognizing that, over time, uncertainty may decrease as we increase our knowledge of climate change, its impacts, and the effects of adaptation and mitigation options (including unintended consequences) water managers must establish decision processes that incorporate new information. The use of rigorous management in an adaptive fashion, where decisions are made sequentially over time, allows adjustments to be made as more information is known. The use of longer planning horizons, combined with updated economic analyses, will support sustainable solutions in the face of changing climate that meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

 

Reviewed 04 October 2017

 

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