The City of Watsonville has a lean water team and more than 100 miles of water pipeline. They knew they would need additional support to prepare the 2020 Risk and Resilience Assessment and Emergency Response Plan in compliance with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) America’s Water Infrastructure Act (AWIA).
The City engaged Harris for that support. The Harris team evaluated the City’s critical water supply assets, treatment and distribution processes, control systems, business information technology, communication systems, and hazard risks.
Using the EPA’s VSAT online tool and data from other recently completed studies, Harris analyzed threats to the water system by estimating factors such as asset replacement cost, duration of service outage, customers impacted, likelihood, and the City’s ability to prepare for and respond to different hazard scenarios.
The team then developed emergency plans for water quality incidents, chlorine spills, earthquakes, floods, wildfires, and terrorist acts. Harris used the EPA’s Emergency Response Plan template to identify key emergency personnel and roles, operational information for the water system, and available resources such as equipment, vehicles, and materials.
Harris helped the City identify vulnerabilities in its water system, assigned risk values to each one, and recommended risk mitigation measures. The Emergency Response Plan included a review of response plans and resources, preparation for events when possible, actions taken during an event, and review of the Plan’s effectiveness.
Beyond the Blueprints
Harris tapped into its extensive experience with water system operations and maintenance to complete the City’s Risk and Resilience Assessment and Emergency Response Plan with minimal oversight by the City’s overextended team. Harris also prepared the plan in a way that would be easy for the City to update as conditions change, ensuring the City remains equipped to efficiently respond to a variety of natural and manmade emergencies down the road.