Operational resilience

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, disruptive weather events are becoming more frequent and the consumer is ever-more empowered. This has significant implications for the water sector.

Maintaining and improving operational resilience requires companies to identify and manage a complex range of risks to make sure their assets operate effectively to meet current and future service needs. This includes the successful management of long-life assets and operational systems on a day-to-day basis while also ensuring mitigations are in place to manage the impact of low probability, high impact events. These core company activities are vital to customers but may not be visible to them or to wider stakeholders.

Monitoring operational resilience

In our strategy we signalled our intention to focus on improvements to operational resilience and asset management. This has been reinforced through our collaborative work with the sector on the asset management maturity assessment (AMMA), which identified areas of good practice as well as areas where the sector needs to do more to ensure long term resilience.

Our longer-term ambition is to help the sector to adapt to future challenges and continue to deliver better outcomes for customers and the environment. To achieve this, we propose to evolve our monitoring approach to provide a richer picture of operational resilience for customers and stakeholders. Our proposed approach for monitoring operational resilience includes the collection of additional information from companies and a focus on open data, transparency and accountability.

In our latest published discussion paper we set out how we intend to do this going forward by developing an integrated monitoring framework that is informed by performance commitments and complemented by wider monitoring activities.

Key documents

Operational resilience discussion paper

Asset management maturity assessment (AMMA)

Out in the Cold report

Targeted Review of Asset Health and Resilience in the Water Industry – report from CH2M