2016 Progress Report: Integrating Information from Climate Scientists and Resource Managers: Informing Preparedness and Adaptation to Extreme Event Impacts on Air and Water Quality in California

EPA Grant Number: R835194
Title: Integrating Information from Climate Scientists and Resource Managers: Informing Preparedness and Adaptation to Extreme Event Impacts on Air and Water Quality in California
Investigators: Bedsworth, Louise W
Current Investigators: Bedsworth, Louise W , Duffy, Philip B. , Tebaldi, Claudia
Institution: University of California - Davis
Current Institution: Public Policy Institute of California , Climate Central
EPA Project Officer: Hiscock, Michael
Project Period: June 1, 2012 through May 31, 2015 (Extended to May 31, 2019)
Project Period Covered by this Report: June 1, 2015 through May 31,2016
Project Amount: $710,529
RFA: Extreme Event Impacts on Air Quality and Water Quality with a Changing Global Climate (2011) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Air Quality and Air Toxics , Water Quality , Climate Change , Air , Water


The goal of this project is to develop a set of management-relevant indicators of extreme events to aid in the management of air and water quality in California. The project is based on a top-down/bottom-up methodology that combines input from resource managers collected through a survey instrument with analysis of the latest climate information. 

Progress Summary:

To date, we have completed a comprehensive survey of water agencies in California. The results are being analyzed for presentation and work is underway to select agencies for case studies.

The research team analyzed responses to the initial survey of water utilities in fall and winter 2015. The analyses are being reported in three manuscripts.

  1. The first was submitted in March 2016 to Climatic Change, and is undergoing peer review. This manuscript focuses on describing a baseline of how water utilities are thinking about climate change impacts on water quality in California and how far along they are in adapting (preparing) for these water quality impacts. This baseline perspective provides the spectrum of challenges, awareness, capacity and adaptation progress of utilities to date. Together, these provide important contextual information from which information needs can be identified.
  2. The second manuscript, in preparation, uses the survey results to examine the gaps between awareness of climate change risk and activities to prepare for impacts on water quality. This manuscript explores how and where the gaps lie between awareness/knowledge and adaptation actions to explore where certain types of climate projections can be useful (and where some cannot). The framework being developed in this paper will be applicable to other sectors.
  3. The third manuscript, also in preparation, focuses on the impacts of the current drought, which is an excellent example of an extreme event in California, on managing water quality for drinking water utilities in California.

The team will be starting case study work this summer, guided by the survey results.

The research team held/conducted a series of scoping meetings to inform design of the survey of air quality districts. These meetings were conducted in fall 2015 and early 2016. The survey has been drafted and is now out for review by the university’s Institutional Review Board (IRB). Survey content and scope is being reviewed by staff at the following organizations:

  • Bay Area Air Quality Management District
  • California Air Pollution Control Officers Association
  • Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District
  • EPA Region IX

This survey will be distributed to directors of each of the State’s 35 local air quality management agencies in June 2016.

Future Activities:

The key activities for the next period of this project are:

  • Submission of remaining manuscripts for publication of the water survey results. 
  • Document analysis and interviews with key informants and water utility staff as part of case studies.
  • Launch of the air quality survey in June 2016, with results by mid-summer.  As with the water agency survey, results of this survey will be used to inform case study selection.

Journal Articles on this Report : 1 Displayed | Download in RIS Format

Other project views: All 6 publications 2 publications in selected types All 2 journal articles
Type Citation Project Document Sources
Journal Article Ekstrom JA, Bedsworth L, Fencl A. Gauging climate preparedness to inform adaptation needs:local level adaptation in drinking water quality in CA, USA. Climatic Change 2017;140(3-4):467-481. R835194 (2016)
R835194 (Final)
  • Full-text from PubMed
  • Abstract from PubMed
  • Associated PubMed link
  • Full-text: Springer-Full Text PDF
  • Abstract: Springer-Abstract & Full Text HTML
  • Supplemental Keywords:

    Climate change, extreme events, air quality, water quality, public policy, resource management, survey

    Progress and Final Reports:

    Original Abstract
  • 2012 Progress Report
  • 2013 Progress Report
  • 2014 Progress Report
  • 2015 Progress Report
  • Final Report