The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the release of the Climate Adjustment Tool for EPA’s Stormwater Management Model – a downloadable online stormwater simulation model. The Climate Adjustment Tool allows engineers and planners to evaluate the performance of water infrastructure while considering future climate change projections, such as more frequent high-intensity storms and changes in evaporation rates of seasonal precipitation, to determine the benefits of resiliency decisions to reduce local economic burden and protect communities.

“Climate change means increased risks to our health, our economy, and our environment,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “But with the President’s Climate Action Plan, the agency is taking action to advance science-based technology, such as the addition of the Climate Adjustment Tool, to help state and local planners combat the impacts of climate change, especially significant economic burden from severe weather, and protect communities through sustainability and resiliency measures.”

The new tool will enable users to add climate projections based on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s climate change scenarios to existing simulations to determine the quality of water traveling through traditional infrastructure – a system of gutters, storm drains, pipes, channels, collection tanks and storage devices. The tool also has the ability to model the performance of green infrastructure practices, including permeable pavement, rain gardens, and green roofs. Engineers and planners are able to accurately represent any combination of traditional and green infrastructure practices within an area to determine their effectiveness in managing stormwater and combined sewer overflows in their community.

Stormwater runoff is a major environmental problem resulting in flooding, erosion, and contaminated waters. Every year billions of gallons of raw sewage, trash, household chemicals, fertilizers, and urban runoff flow into our streams, rivers and lakes. Polluted stormwater runoff can adversely affect plants, animals, and people.