Utility Risk and Resilience Assessments: AWIA Lessons Learned from the Trenches


This ongoing Water Research Foundation project, Practical Framework for Water Infrastructure Resilience (5014), is focused on the development of a Practical Framework for resilience assessment, applicable to water, wastewater, and stormwater utilities of different sizes. Informing this framework are lessons that many large water utilities have learned from assessing their risk and resilience under the 2018 America’s Water Infrastructure Act (AWIA). The webcast covered lessons learned, including best practices, to help medium-sized water utilities be effective and efficient in their AWIA compliance efforts.

In October 2018, AWIA was signed into law and included several amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). As a result of this legislation, water systems serving more than 3,300 population are required to complete a Risk and Resilience Assessment (RRA) and develop or update their Emergency Response Plan (ERP) that incorporates the findings of the RRA; it also established deadlines by which water systems must certify to the EPA that the risk assessment and the ERP update have been completed. This new requirement provides a new regulatory driver for water utilities to assess the risks on their assets arising from a range of threats and evaluate and implement appropriate operational and capital strategies to improve the resilience of their systems.