Many Department of Defense (DoD) installations are known to be vulnerable to water scarcity and extreme weather events based on climate change models and tools. However, these tools lack integration with established water infrastructure data and models to determine how changes in climate may impact installation missions during disasters and long-term infrastructure planning. The barrier to climate resilience is not basic research, but rather integration of existing tools and methods for applied use. The objective of this Phase I project is to develop a seamless, integrated suite of established models and methods for climate vulnerability assessment specifically tailored for DoD installations and water infrastructure called the Climate Impacts on Water Infrastructure for the DoD (CIWI-D) [pronounced seaweed]. CIWI-D will integrate vetted and mature data sets, tools, and methods into water infrastructure vulnerability assessments relevant for installation infrastructure managers, water system operators, and vulnerability analysts within the DoD. The overall objective of this project is to develop a novel tool that supports installation planning and missions assurance across diverse users, installations, and services.

Technology Description

Climate vulnerability for installations is defined in DoD reports and analyses as the combination of exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity. Toward this end, CIWI-D will be the first tool to integrate vetted data and models into exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity libraries developed in a user-friendly Python programming environment. CIWI-D will leverage well-established and open-source methods for water infrastructure analysis and geospatial data management to connect climate and infrastructure data together, construct network models of water systems, and assess them given changing climate. For example, the project team will leverage data from the DoD Climate Assessment Tool and the Defense Installations Spatial Data Infrastructure and assess them using the Python-based Water Network Tool for Resilience to assess how climate impacts affect water system operations. A set of interactive maps and a simple user dashboard will enable non-Python users to conduct vulnerability and resilience analyses. Moreover, the project team will develop a series of standard scenarios for different climate risks (e.g., extreme heat, tropical cyclones) and case studies with realistic and real installation data. The complete tool will be usable by those with limited software programming capabilities to foster effective technology transition.


CIWI-D will help decision makers quantify changes in vulnerability caused by climate and weather events. The target users are installation infrastructure managers (e.g., Navy Civil Engineering Corps Officers), system operators (e.g., civilians, public works officers), and vulnerability analysts (e.g., mission assurance analysts). While each of these infrastructure managers need to make decisions on future climate vulnerability, they lack an integrated view of the problem for guiding operations and planning decisions. CIWI-D will support these users with reproducible and shared analyses useful for their work. Moreover, the research team includes experts across U.S. Army, Navy, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and National Labs, such that CIWI-D development will support broad education and research activities, including master’s theses led by U.S. military officers at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School and post-doc researchers at Sandia National Laboratories.