Streamline - Spring 2012 - (Page 15)

Planning or Piecemeal? BY MARK ESTES VRWA PRESIDENT One of the most critical pieces of any contingency plan is the relationship between the water purveyor and the local planning and zoning departments. ONE OF MY most frustrating experiences involved putting together the small pieces of a 1,000-piece puzzle and having all but one piece in the original box. I spent a great deal of time and effort searching for that one piece that I just knew was in the box. Well, it was not there and the grandkids and I were very disappointed. All of that time and hard work had suddenly lost most of their meaning. Where could I find a matching piece or hide the obvious void that was now created? We even began to think outside the box (no pun intended) with the idea of trying to fashion a new piece to fit the shape of the void. We finally agreed to dismantle the puzzle and place the puzzle pieces back in the box. One of the most critical pieces of any contingency plan is the relationship between the water purveyor and the local planning and zoning departments. In some localities the interaction may appear seamless. In the design of public and commercial buildings, engineering firms commonly approach the problem as build it... and just plug it in to power, water, and natural gas and flip the switch. As long as water, gas and electricity are available, the system seems to work. In the event of a natural disaster (such as Hurricane Katrina), customers who rely upon critical care services or specific medical maintenance may endure life threatening conditions – because we failed to have all the contingency elements in “the box.” Contingency planning is a broad term used to describe how we prepare for uncertain future situations. What we do is literally contingent upon the situation that actually unfolds before us. We identify risks and use standard methods to minimize them by simply preparing for those unexpected events. Water supply, demand and distribution apply specifically to our industry. However, a utility is also a business, and must plan for IT, political, personal and other situations. Seat belt restraint systems in our vehicles are a prime example of a system installed as a contingency measure, while the enforcement mandate demonstrates the broader and more effective scope of contingency planning. Crisis planning basically means it is now too late to plan for contingencies. The event is already in process or may have already passed by, and now the immediate aftermath must be addressed. Reaction time has become critical and the concerns have been elevated to evacuating staff safely, restoring water, wastewater and health services, putting out fires and treating casualties. We are forced to provide sufficient structure and guidance to bring stability to the situation and enable the actual recovery processes to commence. Providing emergency exit signs, egress corridors, water supply plans, central command centers and identifying safe evacuation routes illustrate crisis planning. Business continuity planning means preparing to keep the business financially viable and on-going during and after the disaster strikes. Identify critical business processes and ensure any associated IT services, providers and resources are sufficiently resilient and redundant. Quiz your IT and cloud internet providers on “what 15

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Streamline - Spring 2012

From the President
From the Executive Director
Where is Virginia’s Groundwater?
Basic Management Skills
Planning or Piecemeal?
CPEs and YOU
The Sludge Bag
Fracking Rapidly Becoming Unpopular
Amazing We All Learned English!
Springtime Safety – Outdoor Hazards
Spotlight on Western Virginia Water Authority’s Blue Ridge Brawler
Wastewater Math
VRWA’S 24th Annual Exposition Agenda
Throwing My Loop
eLearning Benefits
Membership Application
Do You Know What Your VRWA Benefi ts Are?
Rural Water Review
VRWA Mailbag
Welcoming New Members
Training Calendar
Board Of Directors
VRWA Committees
Index To Advertisers/Ad.Com

Streamline - Spring 2012