Roundtable on Investing in Resiliency

June 27, 2018 | 8:30am-2:00pm | Texas Association of Counties

Central Texas Conference Room | 1210 San Antonio St, Austin Texas

 

Notes, Findings & Recommendations

Purpose of the Roundtable:

To capture insights and guidance from various public and private sector experts on “converting lessons learned to innovation and after-action reports to investment,” and therefore overcome barriers and limitations to addressing water-focused resiliency across citizens, communities, and industries. To identify federal-state-local existing tools and technological applications that need further exposure, and capture gaps and demands for alternative and integrated solutions, investment programs, and best practices. To generate content and program development for the InvestH2O 2018 “Investing in Resiliency” Forum, including impactful speakers, panels, and interaction among attendees leading to measurable outcomes for resiliency-driven investment and product deployment. And to finally advance actions that have plagued response, rebuild, repurpose and/or redesign from several emergencies and crises in Texas, the Southwest US, the Gulf Coast – and national, global experiences.

 

Summary Highlights of Presentations:

While the Roundtable process was intentionally organized for dialogue, discussion and even debate, a handful of presentations were given to spark new ideas and review lessons learned.

  • Edgar Westerhof and Arcadis: Leverage nearly 400 years of storm and flood insight from the Netherlands, Arcadis has been affiliated with post disaster water events including hurricanes and surge incidents (e.g. Louisiana, Florida, New York, California). “Living with flooding” is not a new experience for Dutch communities and industries; and is a non-political issue for its citizens as co-investors in infrastructure, facilities, and mitigation projects. Over the past 40 years, the focus has been to design for resiliency by capitalizing on urban planning for expected and persistent flood since a majority of the country is below sea-level. From parking garages to city parks, from data-driven alerts to maximizing engineered smart-infrastructure, the adaptation of these solutions is just now of interest to the US due to repeated and costly weather events, demand for risk mitigation by insurance carriers and investors, and the necessity for community and business continuity. The challenge identified from Arcadis’ work in various regions is the lack of sharing lessons-learned versus lessons-applied, and the inability to consider longer term solutions that would reduce overall mitigation and costs to ratepayers, taxpayers, citizens, industries and therefore the economic engines of impacted communities. The Netherlands spends approximately 1.5% of its GDP and has over 45 years used nearly 50 billion euro-equivalent as a commitment to national resiliency – and as a result have two of the largest ports in the world and an economy that is competitive because they do not let flooding diminish their productivity

 

  • Texas General Land Office – Community Redevelopment: Designated as the coordinator of the State’s federally-funded allocations, and in alignment with its role for managing state lands especially along the Gulf Coast, the GLO has conducted extensive inventory of opportunities through its Coastal Resiliency Study and identified projects and investments that could assist in providing long-term protection of impacted communities and industries. Over the past five storms and floods, a total of $10 billion has been appropriated to Texas – all of which require environmental analyses and procurement policies anew! From the recent Harvey recovery funds, some $137 million is available for university-provided ‘impact studies’ which support planning, packaging of regional perspectives, and seek to collect all sources of data into one platform or knowledge-sharing system.

 

  • Based on its “Call to Action” in the days before the land-fall of Hurricane Harvey and through its creation of Houston Water’s Innovative Demonstration Hub, AccelerateH2O identified several lessons-learned and challenges that plague water managers, public sector leadership, and industry facilities. From the inability to deliver just-in-time necessary equipment and technologies provided by private sector-vendor supply chains to the failure to find adjacent fuel and chemical sources for urgent operations…and a host of other experiences that seem to be similar stories from previous after-action reports and responses from Roundtable participants. The reliance only upon public sector emergency response has recognized short-comings from industry and business representatives, and often the expectation the public sector will make industry, corporate facilities and campuses a priority during a water-related event or emergency requires reminding that such expectations cannot be met effectively and efficiently when citizens are the greatest priority. However, industry and corporations often will provide access to generators, equipment, fuel, and alternative water supply through informal networks and relationships, and not through processes that could put them in liability or additional risk exposure.

 

Note: all presentations and materials are available online: https://www.accelerateh2o.org/resiliency-emergency-response

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