Operationalizing Resilience in the Water Sector

The National Association of Clean Water Agencies and AMWA cohosted a series of four complementary webinars on water system resilience. “Dealing with Disruption: Operationalizing Resilience in the Water Sector” explored the role of water utilities in overall community resilience. Case studies, lessons learned, and resources for utilities were shared so utilities can learn from one another and improve their resilience to multiple challenges, including natural disasters, cyber threats, climate conditions, and aging infrastructure.

Part 4. June 3, 2020

The current COVID-19 pandemic has shown utilities how resilience planning needs to consider all potential threats to usual operations and services. In the face of these threats – whether pandemics, natural disasters, climate change, or other changing water conditions – water professionals must become proficient in resilience thinking, evaluating how interacting systems and assets can best be managed in the face of disturbances and uncertainty. By continually building on existing knowledge, resiliency thinking allows professionals to consider novel solutions to address ever-changing shocks and stressors to water systems.

This webinar examined how utilities can take a broad view of water-related vulnerabilities and use collaboration, creativity, and resilience thinking to overcome these challenges.


  • Charles Stevens, Water Utility Officer, KC Water, MO
  • Stephen MacCarthy, Manager Corporate Security, Risk & Assurance, Water Corporation, Australia
  • Jim Wollbrinck, Director Emergency Management and Business Resiliency, San Jose Water Company, CA

View the webinar recording and download the slides

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Part 3. February 26, 2020 (2:00-3:30 p.m. ET): Building Disaster Resilience

The webinar examined the tools and methods utilities can use to reduce the risk of operational disruptions, prepare for disasters and protect facilities and operations. It reviewed case studies from utilities that demonstrate resilience building and provide valuable lessons learned.


  • Curt Baranowski, U.S. EPA
  • Lindsey Hallock, Cape Fear Public Utility Authority
  • Travis Block, City of Faribault, Minn.
  • Peggy Nguyen, LA Sanitation and Environment

View the webinar recording and download the slides.

Part 2: Resilience & Smart Communities

Hosted on December 5, "Resilience & Smart Communities" addressed the use of data to help utilities develop and implement resilience strategies, as well as the growing interest bond rating agencies and insurance companies have in climate change and its effects on water utilities. The webinar featured:

  • Erica Brown, Chief Strategy & Sustainability Officer, Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies
  • Paul Fuller, Chief Executive Officer, Allied Public Risk
  • Lori Medders, the Joseph F. Freeman Distinguished Professor of Insurance, Appalachian State University
  • Albert Cho, Vice President and General Manager, Advanced Infrastructure Analytics, Xylem Inc.

View the webinar recording and download the slides.

Part 1: Understanding Resilience, from Concept to Implementation Strategy

Hosted on September 17, 2019, “Understanding Resilience, from Concept to Implementation Strategy examined how cities and regions, and their water systems, are developing plans to become resilient. The webinar also reviewed the 100 Resilience Cities’ City Water Resilience Framework, which was developed through the Rockefeller Foundation and which provides detailed guidance on steps to take to improve resiliency. The webinar presented case studies from:

  • Kishia Powell, Commissioner, City of Atlanta Department of Watershed Management
  • Hardeep Anand, Deputy Director of Capital Improvements Program, Miami-Dade County Water and Sewer Department
  • Gareth Morgan, Director of Resilience, City of Cape Town, South Africa
  • Nadia Vogt, Senior Project Manager, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District

View the webinar recording and download the slides.