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Climate Change, Water Reuse and Military Readiness

Military Sealift Command

Seahawk helicopter from Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron 4 lifts a pallet of bottled water from the deck of Military Sealift Command combat stores ship USNS Niagara Falls

By Marc Kodack

The Environmental Protection Agency recently published a draft National Water Reuse Action Plan, seeking comments on the plan by December 16, 2019 (ten days from today, so get to your comment stations). The comment period raises the importance of understanding that climate change will manifest itself primarily through water, and that water reuse will become more and more important in the future. As the draft plan itself notes:

Climate change will greatly increase the risk that water supplies will not be able to keep pace with demand, necessitating the need to develop new, drought proof supplies.

The increase in drought, desertification, aridification, and reductions in water quality, are issues that will also need to be addressed by many communities, including those located around military installations. These issues also have direct implications for the installations themselves, including disruptions to training and operational missions. Any disruptions increase risks to mission assurance. Water reuse is one method of extending the available supply of water for an installation and the surrounding community. We encourage anyone who comments on the plan to call for it to be climate and security-proofed as much as possible.

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