Water resiliency includes water security, preparedness, and emergency response. It means increasing capacity to prevent, mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from all hazards. It means maintaining the capability of service to the community - the provision of safe, clean, wholesome potable water reliably and adequately.
Earthquakes, Terrorism, Wildfires, Debris flows, Flooding, Accidents, Sabotage, Tsunami, Climate Change, Pandemic , Cyberthreats, and Power Outage are a few of the natural and man-caused incidents that the Water Sector (one of the 16 Critical Infrastructures) faces. The Water Sector is acutely aware of the vulnerabilities of drinking water systems to these threats and incidents and the imperative to increase and maintain their resilience. The enhancement of security and the ability of water systems to prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from all-hazards is key to maintaining a reliable and adequate supply and delivery of clean, safe, wholesome drinking water.
Being resilient is the ability to take an impact and return to normal as soon as possible, or as close to normal as can be - similar to how a spring can bounce back when depressed and released. Being resilient is increasing the capability and capacity to prevent (mitigate, deter, detect, and delay), prepare for, respond to, and recover from all hazards.
The following statements reflect aspects of preparedness, response and resiliency:
- Train as you fight; fight as you train - keep the training and exercises close to real as possible because the skills and muscle memory developed is what will be called upon in the face of a real incident.
- All emergencies are local; all responses are local - the local entity is ultimately responsible for the incident with all external entities supporting them. Thus, the local entity needs to be prepared to make the necessary decisions and actions to face the incident and be ready to receive the assistance from the external entities.
- If you satisfactorily address the technical, managerial, and financial capacity for the public water system, you will be more resilient and reduce the impact of emergencies; result in better compliance with laws and regulations; result in better ability to serve your customer.
- Join a mutual aid organization such as CalWARN.
- Everything is interdependent and interconnected - understand that the provision of water is dependent upon many other critical infrastructures and entities - electric power, fuel, manpower, laboratory services, etc.
- Water is deemed to be an essential function during an emergency. Plan and prepare to keep the operations and facilities in operation during emergencies
The Water Boards and the Division of Drinking Water (DDW) can assist California's water systems increase resilience in the face of all hazards. Please e-mail staff (click on individual's name) questions related to resiliency issues.
Jason Spotts, P.E., MBA
1001 I Street
Sacramento, CA 95814