Showcasing Leading Practices in Climate Adaptation: Experiences from the Water Sector to Empower Other Sectors and Communities
An Eight-Part Webinar Series Hosted by: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Adaptation Sciences Program (AdSci), Water Utility Climate Alliance (WUCA), The Water Research Foundation (WRF), and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency  |  November 2021 - February 2022


Climate change is one of the most significant challenges of the 21st century. This webinar series, sponsored jointly by NOAA’s Adaptation Sciences Program, WUCA, WRF, and EPA, will explore practical lessons and leading practices focused on steps to mainstreaming climate science and adaptation considerations into building for climate resilience. Having worked on climate adaptation for over a decade, water utilities have learned many lessons and developed approaches to share with peer sectors seeking to learn and take steps to adapt now. Expanding the exchange of knowledge across communities will also foster more effective adaptation and improve community resilience.

Specific topics for these webinars will include:

  • Leading Practices in Climate Adaptation: highlights a range of actions that organizations can implement for climate adaptation that have been ground-tested by WUCA agencies.
  • Climate Adaptation Engineering Case Studies: discusses adaptation opportunities in infrastructure design and project delivery processes and provides case studies of recent water infrastructure projects.
  • Business Function Mapping: provides a framework-oriented process to mainstream climate change considerations within organizations.
  • Equity and Environmental Justice Considerations in Climate Adaptation: highlights how equity can influence community goals and build partnerships with lessons learned and solutions to build equity while adapting to climate change
  • Green Stormwater Infrastructure: describes community experiences in deciding to use green stormwater infrastructure, monetizing and quantifying benefits, developing critical stakeholder partnerships, and using available tools to evaluate options to include in adaptation plans.
  • Greenhouse Gas and Energy: provides valuable information and inspiration for greenhouse gas mitigation or sewage thermal energy use projects from concept to implementation.
  • Climate Warming and Impacts to Staff and Assets: analyzes the impact of extreme temperature events on personnel and critical water utility physical infrastructure assets.
  • Federal and Other Funding for Adaptation: reviews available resources for financial support of adaptation projects, improving understanding of successful strategies and connecting the audience with community-based and sector-focused funding.


The goal of these webinars is to help us, adaptation practitioners, advance our thinking about effective approaches by learning from others what has worked (or not worked). Beyond sharing examples from the water sector, these webinars will foster a multi-sectoral dialogue, sharing practical resources and tools for planning.

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Leading Practices in Climate Adaptation

Date: November 4, 2021 | Time: 2:00-3:00 pm EDT

The Water Utility Climate Alliance (WUCA) is a group of 12 utilities working to collaboratively advance climate adaptation. WUCA’s latest work, “Leading Practices in Climate Adaptation,” includes a report and website summarizing a range of actions that have been tested on the ground by WUCA agencies. The Leading Practices were developed by practitioners for practitioners and are accessible to utilities of all sizes, locations, and levels of climate adaptation experience, as well as other sectors seeking to adapt to changing conditions. Each practice is supported with concrete examples and many include supporting resources. In this webinar, participants will learn about the five essential climate action areas, review the Leading Practices, and hear a range of supporting examples. Participants will also engage in an exercise to begin thinking about which practices would be a good fit for their organization.

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Julie Vano

Julie Vano

Aspen Global Change Institute

Julie Vano is the Research Director at the Aspen Global Change Institute, an organization dedicated to advancing global change science and solutions. She works to connect climate science to decision making in close collaboration with water utilities and US federal water agencies. She is president of the Science and Society section at the American Geophysical Union and holds a PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Washington.


Laurna Kaatz

Laurna Kaatz

Denver Water and WUCA

Laurna Kaatz directs Denver Water’s climate science, policy, and adaptation program. Her primary responsibility is to lead climate investigations and implement findings to inform planning, policy, and research. As past chair of the Water Utility Climate Alliance and a lead practitioner of the Decision Making under Deep Uncertainty Society, Laurna is extensively engaged in climate adaptation, resilience, and long-range planning. Before her career at Denver Water, Laurna was a Professor of Physics at Sweet Briar College and went on to work as a climate scientist with Aurora Water. Laurna has a master’s degree in physics and a Bachelor’s in physics and mathematics.

Kavita Heyn

Kavita Heyn

Portland Water Bureau

Kavita Heyn is the Climate Resiliency Planning Manager at the Portland Water Bureau, and the Chair of the Water Utility Climate Alliance. Kavita leads several climate resilience and adaptive long-term water supply planning efforts in collaboration with climate scientists, federal and local agencies, and water sector peers. She has a Master of Environmental Science and Management from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a Masters in Environment and Development from the London School of Economics & Political Science.


Dr. Nancy Beller-Simms
Lead, Climate Program Office Water Risk Team AND Climate and Societal Interactions - Water
Program Manager, Adaptation Sciences

P: 1 (301) 734-1205
F: 1 (301) 713-0518

For additional information, please contact our planning team:

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Water Utility Climate Alliance (WUCA)

The Water Research Foundation (WRF) 

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Klara Zimmerman -


1315 East-West Highway Suite 100
Silver Spring, MD 20910


Americans’ health, security and economic wellbeing are tied to climate and weather. Every day, we see communities grappling with environmental challenges due to unusual or extreme events related to climate and weather.