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Industrial Engineering & Operations Research
Master of Science (M.S.)
Year Degree Awarded
Month Degree Awarded
Climate Change, Global Warming, Water plan, Climate change plan, the Northeast, the Southwest, Mitigation, Adaptation
To what degree are water managers in different regions in the United States thinking about and planning for climate change? To answer this question we reviewed water plans and climate change plans in all the cities with populations over 50,000 in the Northeastern and Southwestern regions of the United States. By locating and reviewing water and climate change plans in the described cities in the two regions, we found that of the 101 cities with over 50,000 people in the Northeast, 83 cities had water plans and/or climate change plans that could be found online; only 20 had plans that discussed climate change in the context of water. Of the 56 cities with over 50,000 people in the Southwest, 42 cities had water plans and climate change plans that could be found online; 22 cities had plans that discussed climate change in the context of water. Our initial analysis shows that in the Northeast population and whether a city is on the coast may be the main factors driving whether a city considers water and climate change jointly and in the Southwest population and political leaning may be the main factors, while the median income of the city, and average rainfall level appear to be irrelevant. We compare the current status of water-related climate change decision making in these regions before summarizing the types of water-related climate change mitigation and adaptation actions that these cities are currently undertaking or considering. Many of these plans mention both climate change mitigation and climate change adaptation actions, indicating that water managers who are thinking about and planning for climate change are approaching this issue broadly. These results provide a foundation for understanding the impacts of climate change on water-related decision-making.
Erin D. Baker
Jenna L. Marquard