11. 02. 2019

Is the wastewater treatment sector resilient to climate change events?


Utilities’ and government bodies’ interests in resilience and the implications of climate change in sewage systems and infrastructures are increasing. However, according to Juan García, et. al (2017) [1] there is no consolidated framework for the resilience assessment and it is often seen as an additional cost or an extra effort.

In this sense, resilience assessment was the framework of the RESCCUE workshop that took place last May in Alcântara Wastewater Resource Recovery Facility. Moreover, this event led the discussion for the definition of what resilience strategies are, how they could be implemented and which cost would they have, in order to prioritize the investments.

Further discussions were held on key-indicators, which will be the base of the Resilience Assessment Framework, contributing to the development of Resilience Action Plans. These Action Plans will contribute to posing new perspectives in terms of resilience and awareness and supporting the utilities regarding climate change impacts in the infrastructures. 

Within the RESCCUE project, we believe that the implementation of Resilience Action Plans focused on climate change and the water and wastewater sectors could be the next step for utilities to see the investments in resilience as a great opportunity and not as an extra cost, also with an integrated Asset Management support.

[1] Juan-García, P., Butler, D., Comas, J., Darch, G., Sweetapple, C., Thornton, A., Corominas, L., 2017. Resilience theory incorporated into urban wastewater systems management. State of the art. Water Research 115, 149-161.