AdaptWater™ online climate change analysis tool


The AdaptWater™ project began with a highly innovative and challenging goal to develop an online tool to address the issue raised by Sydney Water of how to assess its infrastructure assets in a cost-effective way and establish robust, quantified cost-benefit analyses and a business case for undertaking major capital works.

The outcome is a user-friendly software program to quantify the climate change risks to multiple assets, assess adaptation options and provide economic modelling for investment decisions. The default settings for the tool’s data fields can be readily adapted to apply to other kinds of utilities and infrastructure owners including roads, railways, ports, airports, electricity, gas suppliers and irrigators.

Project participants include the Water Services Association of Australia, Sydney Water, Melbourne Water, SA Water, Queensland Urban Utilities, City West Water and Water Corporation (Western Australia).

Risks and Impacts Addressed 

AdaptWaterTM’s database has been developed to address multiple risks, specifically these six climate hazards across five States:

·         Salt water ingress

·         Coastal inundation

·         Riverine flooding

·         Heat wave

·         Bushfire

·         Extreme wind.

Drivers for Adaptation Action 

Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) members, led by Sydney Water, required a cutting edge decision support tool to:

·         Identify risk-based justifications for protecting vulnerable infrastructure assets

·         Develop a suite of quantified investment responses to manage risks

Outcomes Achieved 
  • Input of spatial data sets for six hazards in five states to a 160gigabyte database

  • Adaptive user interface – for example utilities can apply different costs to provide Net Present Value (NPV) and compare costs

  • Output data include tables, graphs and heat maps of risk cost of climate change to hazards, tables and graphs of financial and non-financial key performance indicators (KPI), including risk cost, NPV, dry weather overflows(sewage spills), customer supply disruption and water quality

  • Reports to compare adaptation options against financial and nonfinancial KPIs

  • Pilot tool development involving Sydney Water and WSAA and partner utilities (Melbourne Water, SA Water, QLD Urban Utilities, City West Water, Water Corp).