Strategic planning is a vital part of any business operation. When it comes to an organization like Central Arizona Project (CAP), the primary focus is on Colorado River supplies.
The Colorado River Basin has been affected by nearly two decades of drought, plus the effects of a changing climate. Warmer and drier conditions may prolong the existing drought by reducing snowpack, thus reducing streamflow into the basin. This climate change-induced drought extension may signal a “new normal.”
To prepare for this uncertain future, CAP recently completed a comprehensive Climate Adaptation Plan after working through several future-based scenarios. While utilities across the country are preparing for climate adaptation, CAP’s plan is unique in that it not only looks at water and power impacts, it also explicitly explores how the business might function at all levels, across all departments.
The plan provides a fascinating look at the ways in which CAP would need to adapt to the potential impacts of climate change -- temperature, precipitation and streamflow. For example, extreme temperature change in Arizona could reduce the influx of new residents, which could affect Human Resources by limiting CAP’s employee recruitment pool. Similar implications were crafted factoring in normal or reduced water supply, high or low demand for water and a strong or weak economy. In all, 131 adaptation strategies were developed to mitigate challenges and capitalize on opportunities.