Drinking Water Vulnerability Assessment and Resilience Plan

Project Summary

Connecticut’s coastal and inland drinking water systems have been seriously affected by impacts of recent severe storms, including Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Irene. The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH), Milone and MacBroom, UConn researchers, and CIRCA collaborated to prepare a Drinking Water Vulnerability Assessment and Resilience Plan (DWVARP) to assess, identify, and address vulnerabilities for community water systems in Fairfield, New Haven, New London, and Middlesex counties. The DWVARP utilizes spatial data, flood risk and climate information, and surveys and interviews with water utilities.

The objective of the DWVARP was to: (1) assess current vulnerabilities to drinking water systems and private wells in Connecticut’s four coastal counties, and (2) identify strategies to mitigate future storm impacts to areas with drinking water supplies.  The plan identifies options and alternatives to mitigate vulnerabilities identified and to improve resiliency.  Findings and recommendations from the DWVARP will play a vital role in building resiliency into the state's community water systems and better prepare these systems before, during, and after future storm impacts, including impacts of climate change and drought.

Products

Workshop: Implementing a Drinking Water Resilience Plan for Connecticut

Drinking Water Vulnerability Assessment and Resilience Plan

Project Description

The project consisted of four main tasks:

  • Vulnerability assessment of Connecticut community water systems in the four counties impacted by Super Storm Sandy to identify options and alternatives to mitigate the vulnerabilities identified and to improve resiliency and to compile the assessment into a comprehensive public water systems resiliency plan.
  • Review current practices, procedures, and requirements for emergency response at DPH and develop an emergency response plan, in collaboration with the Department.
  • Use available GIS data layers and information from local health directors to assess the vulnerability of private wells and recommend actions to improve resiliency.
  • Prepare a high-level comprehensive implementation plan that addresses identified community water systems’ vulnerabilities and provides options and alternatives to improve resiliency.

Funding for this project was provided by the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Program, as administered by the Department of Housing and applied for by the Department of Public Health, State of Connecticut.

Researchers, Staff and Contractors Supported on Project

  • James O’Donnell, UConn CIRCA and Department of Marine Sciences
  • Christine Kirchhoff, UConn Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Rebecca French, UConn CIRCA
  • Guiling Wang, UConn Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Amy Burnicki, UConn Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • David Murphy, Milone & MacBroom
  • Victoria Brudz, UConn CIRCA and Milone & MacBroom
Reservoir in Barkhamstead

Barkhamsted Reservoir, Photo: CT Mirror

Private Well Cap, Photo: Ridgefield Health Department

Private well Cap, Photo: Ridgefield Health Department

“What We Do” Areas

This project is a part of the following topical areas:

Critical Infrastructure