We’ve initated several studies that examine the potential impact of climate change on our resource recovery facilities, pumping stations, and drainage areas to determine resiliency measures that will help prevent future disruptions.
NYC Stormwater Resiliency Plan
Extreme rainfall events are becoming more frequent and disruptive in New York City and beyond. Climate projections suggest that this trend will continue and that New York City will likely experience increased precipitation in the future. New York City’s Stormwater Resiliency Plan outlines goals and initiatives for the City to implement over a period of 10 years, including new policies for resilient stormwater management, the integration of future-looking climate change projections into our long-term drainage planning, changes to the City’s flash flood emergency response procedure, and an increased focus on public communications related to rainfall-based flooding. These efforts will help New Yorkers prepare for flooding events, and help the City plan for emergency response and long-term management.
Urban areas often face similar challenges and can benefit from exchanging best practices related to managing issues like intense rainfall and sea level rise. NYC partnered up with the City of Copenhagen’s Technical and Environmental Administration to share knowledge on innovative solutions that can prepare us for heavier and more frequent downpours or “cloudbursts” brought about by climate change. As part of this collaboration, we initiated a study to assess risks, prioritize response, develop neighborhood-based solutions, and assign costs and benefits for managing cloudbursts. The study used the approach developed in the City of Copenhagen’s 2012 Cloudburst Management Plan and applied it to Southeast Queens.
As a result of the cloudburst study, we’re now testing the implementation of cloudburst infrastructure at the NYC Housing Authority’s South Jamaica Houses. Download the South Jamaica Houses Cloudburst Master Plan 2018 for more information.
To learn more about NYC’s approach to cloudburst management view our Urban Stormwater Management in NYC Story Map.
Water Utility Climate Alliance
We are a proud member of the Water Utility Climate Alliance (WUCA). WUCA is comprised of twelve of the nation’s largest water providers that supply drinking water to more than 50 million people throughout the U.S. Several member agencies also provide stormwater and wastewater services to the communities they serve. WUCA is dedicated to enhancing climate change research and improving water management decision-making to ensure that water utilities will be positioned to respond to climate change and protect our water supplies.
Using 2005 data as a baseline, New York City has set the ambitious goal to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 80% by the year 2050. Operation and maintenance of DEP’s water supply, stormwater, and wastewater management facilities currently account for 18% of total NYC government emissions. To reduce our carbon footprint, our sustainability teams have been proactive in tracking and identifying opportunities that offset GHG emissions and/or optimize indirect energy co-benefits.
View our Interactive Demand Management Map for a detailed view of completed water conservation projects across New York City.
Wastewater Resiliency Plan
The NYC Wastewater Resiliency Plan is a comprehensive study that examined buildings and infrastructure at our 96 pumping stations and 14 wastewater resource recovery facilities, identifying and prioritizing infrastructure that is most at risk of flood damage. Through the study, we developed a set of recommended design standards and cost-effective protective measures tailored to each facility to improve resiliency in the face of future flood events. These standards and recommendations are currently being implemented.