Operational resilience is the ability of an organisation’s infrastructure, and the skills to run that infrastructure, to avoid, cope with and recover from disruption in its performance. It is about reducing the probability of water supply interruptions and wastewater flooding, as well as mitigating the impact of any disruption through efficient handling, good communication and quick recovery.
It also means long-term resilience to environmental pressures, demographic change, shifts in customer behaviour and the impacts of climate change.
Across society and the world, recent years have been increasingly defined by rapid, often unexpected change in a number of areas. Events and developments appear to be becoming more uncertain with time. Technology is rapidly evolving, knowledge is expanding, networks are broadening, weather events are becoming more frequent and the consumer is ever-more empowered. This has significant implications for the water sector.
The unpredictability of the future creates challenges, but a resilient industry should be as prepared as possible for anything. Taking action now is important – but so is building adaptability and flexibility into long-term plans.
Companies should consider how their planning might interact with a range of future scenarios, and as a regulator we need to play our part to help the sector face the future with confidence.