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US EPA's Community-Based Water Resiliency (CBWR) Initiative: Enhancing Utility Preparedness and Resiliency with Minimal Economic Impact

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US EPA's Community-Based Water Resiliency (CBWR) initiative is a community-focused approach to water preparedness that addresses water emergency planning and resiliency for a variety of critical services and key businesses including drinking water and wastewater utilities. Water infrastructure is a vital public health and economic resource; yet critical service providers and businesses in many communities have not factored the Water Sector into emergency preparedness planning and are ill-prepared to handle potential consequences of a water service interruption. Potential threats to the availability of water include natural disasters (e.g., hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes), man-made disasters, and climate change impacts.

The CBWR initiative was created to foster collaboration between water utilities and all community members. The program increases community preparedness by: (1) raising awareness of Water Sector interdependencies and encouraging integration of the Water Sector in community preparedness planning and response efforts; and (2) increasing the resiliency and preparedness of drinking water and wastewater utilities by delivering tools and information to increase community collaboration and bolster security practices. The CBWR electronic tool increases awareness of Water Sector interdependencies, gives communities over 350 free resources to develop and implement resiliency plans, and includes a self-assessment tool that provides tailored recommendations on which tools and resources will best assist the user in water planning and preparedness.

By attending this session participants will understand the importance of collaborating with all community partners to increase the integration of the water sector in preparedness planning. They will also learn about CBWR tools, and communication and outreach materials that can be used to educate critical community partners and promote collaboration and partnerships between water utility owners/operators and the communities they serve.
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Keywords: All-hazards; Climate Change; Community; Emergency Planning; Preparedness; Resiliency; Utilities; Water Emergency; Water Sector; Water Service

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-01-01

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