Risk Tolerance: Coming to Terms With a New Normal

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Tuesday, 6 January 2015: 9:15 AM
126BC (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Karen Metchis, EPA; and N. Beller-Simms

Extreme climate and weather events are occurring more frequently and with more intensity across the nation. Communities and the water utilities that serve them are being whiplashed between drought and flood, nor'easters and tropical storms, and unprecedented wildfires. Meanwhile, water resource managers are bumping up against public expectations for reliable services, assumptions about safety, and traditional decision making paradigms. This presentation is based on a recent set of case studies about what happened in six communities that experienced one or more extreme event, focusing on water resource management. A summary of the case studies will be presented, showing the interdependent and cascading impacts challenging drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater utility managers and the implications for defining risk tolerance.