Date of Award

2018

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering

Specialization

Environmental Engineering

Department

Civil and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

Vinka Oyanedel-Craver

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to design a climate-ready drinking water system for a newly constructed school in Cumayasa, Dominican Republic while developing components of a Community Climate Change Strategy (CCCS). The goal of the CCCS is to bridge the gap between macro-scale climate change science and drinking water system development at the community level.

In this proposed CCCS, “no-regrets” and “low-regrets” decision-making is applied to water system design for small, rural or peri-urban communities. The CCCS was designed to be used in all phases of a project’s lifecycle, with adaptation actions corresponding to each phase of the project process. This paper addresses the adaptation actions for the first three phases of the project process: project formation phase; assessment phase; and alternatives analysis phase.

The Dominican Republic is listed in the lowest third out of 100 countries based on the Vulnerability-Resilience Indicator Model (VRIM) and is vulnerable to climate change and extreme weather events. Therefore, Cumayasa was selected as a location to study the possible ways to prepare for and adapt to climate change and sea level rise.

The CCCS used inputs from the World Resources Institute’s AQUEDUCT Water Risk Atlas and summaries of climate change projections based on the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre’s derivation from observed climate data sources and climate model projections using a General Circulation Model (GCM) ensemble of 15 models and the Regional Climate Model (RCM), PRECIS, to determine Climate Risk Assessment Value Ratings (CRAVR) and ease of implementation scores. The CRAVR and ease of implementation inputs were used to build a location specific Climate Adaptation Matrix for Prioritization (CAMP). Adaptation solutions were categorized as high, medium, or low priority. The high priority design adaptations identified using the CCCS process were incorporated into the system design. An overview of the system design including the adaptations to climate change and sea level rise was provided.

Following the CCCS process, information for the Dominican Republic and Cumayasa region was applied to generate the CAMP. The results obtained from the CAMP showed eight high priority, five medium priority, and five low priority design adaptations. Due to factors such as financial and technical capacity, incorporating all potential design adaptations was not feasible. By understanding how current and future climate hazards affect the functionality of water technologies and impact water sources, water treatment technologies and water sources were prioritized and the best alternatives to improve Cumayasa’s resilience to climate change were selected. All of the high priority design adaptations were related to flood risk. The high priority adaptations recommended in the CAMP for Cumayasa included: conducting field assessments to identify potential water supply contaminants and designing a robust treatment system; using an activated carbon filter to remove chemical contaminants; incorporating chlorine disinfection into the design; incorporating a 5-micron membrane filter to remove turbidity; ensuring proper maintenance and protection of the underground storage cistern; elevating the electricpowered pump to protect from flood events; and diversifying water sources (groundwater and rainwater).

This framework could be a valuable tool to help engineers and decision-makers prioritize climate change adaptation solutions for community-based water systems. By providing guidance on identifying current and future climate risks and vulnerabilities; mapping pathways between climate hazards (e.g., flood and drought), impacts, and design adaptations; and prioritizing appropriate solutions to select which adaptations should be incorporated in the design, adaptations can be incorporated into community-based water systems. The CCCS was designed for water systems in small, rural or peri-urban communities. Therefore, it can provide a sufficient level of detail for water system design at the community-level while remaining relatively concise. The CCCS could provide rural or peri-urban communities around the world with the capability of adapting water systems to climate change.

Available for download on Saturday, July 27, 2019

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