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SFPE Foundation releases research on Water Supply and Climate Change


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The SFPE Foundation, a charitable organisation focused on enhancing the scientific understanding of fire and its interaction with the natural and built environment, has released a research report on water supply, climate change, and the impact of water stress on fire protection systems.

The research was conducted by Virginia R. Charter, Ph.D., P.E., FSFPE and Justin Paul Fletcher of Oklahoma State University, and is available for free download at

The research involves a detailed review of current water supply practices, design of suppression systems that depend upon the use of water supplies, and the impacts of water stress or scarcity on water supply systems.

The report also includes case studies from water shortages/crises in diverse locations from the USA, South Africa, Spain, and Australia. A final source of data includes plans for and experiences with water shortages. The report focuses on how fire protection system design and water supply system design must include the concept of climate change, specifically water scarcity or stress, in the discussion of reliability of systems. 

Leslie Marshall, Ph.D., Director, SFPE Foundation, commented: “Through our programs – from our annual student scholarships and awards, to research grant programs, to the Grand Challenges Initiative, and so much that we do – the SFPE Foundation prioritizes financial investments in areas like climate change that represent pressing global challenges,

“This research provides new insight into how the water supply system is being impacted by climate change, and how fire protection and fire safety engineers need to adapt to ensure long-term reliability of their systems designs.”

A free webinar will be delivered by the research team on January 31, 2023, through the SFPE Foundation’s Research in Fire Engineering webinar series. Registration is now open at

Highlights of the research have been published in a recent article in Fire Protection Engineering magazine, titled Water Supply and Climate Change: The Impact of Water Stress on Water-Based Fire Protection Systems.

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