The Emergency is Coming. Is Everybody Ready? Lessons Learned from a Review of the Business Continuity Program at EBMUD

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Abstract:

The continued operation of an organization depends on management's awareness of the potential impact of natural or man-caused disasters, its ability to develop a plan to minimize disruptions of critical business functions, and the capacity to implement that plan to recover business operations efficiently and in priority order. A business continuity program is an ongoing process to ensure that the necessary steps are taken to identify the impact of potential losses, maintain viable recovery strategies, recovery plans, and continuity of critical services.

The East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) began developing Business Continuity Plans (BCPs) in 2001. The plans were reformatted in December 2005 and revised in March 2006. Following the events of Hurricane Katrina, a complete assessment of the program was finished in November 2006. The primary objective of this review was to assess the current BCPs for consistency, completeness, interdependencies, gaps, and potential conflicts. Based on this assessment, recommendations and an implementation plan were developed to ensure the plans meet the District's needs for business continuity and recovery in conjunction with the District's Emergency Operations Plan. A comprehensive Business Continuity Program Plan was developed which serves as the outline for implementation of the ongoing program.

The results of the study yielded many recommendations with respect to relevant policies and procedures, information systems, alternate work locations, training, exercises, and vulnerabilities in several key business functions like revenue collection. This paper will outline the results of that review, progress toward implementation of the Business Continuity Program, lessons learned, and recommendations for other agencies implementing a similar program.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2175/193864708788806098

Publication date: January 1, 2008

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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