Virtual Congressional Briefing: Preparing for and Responding to Historic Drought and Wildfires


The Water Research Foundation convened a panel of leading global water experts to highlight the extraordinary effect drought and wildfires have on water resources and local communities. Water research plays an essential role in developing solutions and strategies that help communities protect and maintain access to water resources during extreme and unprecedented weather events. We invited you to attend this important virtual briefing to discuss the lasting impacts drought has on critical watersheds, including what is necessary for the successful management of water infrastructure when faced with cataclysmic wildfires.

The presenters offered valuable insights based on their experiences with these issues as the world continues to prepare for and respond to historic drought and wildfires. The United States is currently facing unprecedented drought and communities in Nevada and California are taking collaborative and historic steps to protect water resources in a rapidly changing environment. The General Managers of the Southern Nevada Water Authority and the Orange County Water District will illustrate the essential role that water research plays in ensuring that water services remain resilient in the face of extreme events. The 2019-20 Australian bushfire season, colloquially known as Black Summer, was a period of unusually intense bushfires in many parts of Australia. North East Water's experience during these bushfires provides U.S. water managers with an important case study on lessons learned and response strategies. Dr. Christobel Ferguson of The Water Research Foundation moderated the panel to focus on the importance of helping communities prepare for and respond to historic drought and wildfires.

John Day, Executive Manager, North East Water (Australia)
John Entsminger, General Manager, Southern Nevada Water Authority (Nevada)
Michael R. Markus, General Manager, Orange County Water District (California)
Peter Grevatt, PhD, Chief Executive Officer, The Water Research Foundation

Question and Answer Session:
Christobel Ferguson, PhD, Chief Innovation Officer, The Water Research Foundation