Great Water Cities Summit Shares Holistic Approach to Resilience

 Water sector leaders, from left, Harlan Kelly, general manager of San Francisco Public Utilities Commission; Diana Jones Ritter, deputy commissioner of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection Bureau of Organizational Development; Rudolph Chow, director of the Department of Public Works for the City of Balitmore; and Michael Garland, director of Environmental Services for Monroe County, New York; discuss workforce resilience on a Great Water Cities Summit panel. WEF photo/Travis Loop.


Water sector leaders, from left, Harlan Kelly, general manager of San Francisco Public Utilities Commission; Diana Jones Ritter, deputy commissioner of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection Bureau of Organizational Development; Rudolph Chow, director of the Department of Public Works for the City of Balitmore; and Michael Garland, director of Environmental Services for Monroe County, New York; discuss workforce resilience on a Great Water Cities Summit panel. WEF photo/Travis Loop.

Building truly resilient cities requires a holistic approach that considers physical, financial, and workforce components. Attendees at the Great Water Cities Summit 2017: Invest4Resilience learned details about each of these components and discovered the way such cities as New York have turned resilience challenges into opportunities.

“I love the title of the summit, the Great Water Cities Summit,” said Dan Zarrilli, chief resilience officer for the New York City Mayor’s office. Water is fundamental to life and a keystone for great cities, but it also poses risks, he said.

Zarrilli described the city’s efforts to strengthen physical resilience and explained how utilities can lead the effort to protect cities in the face of many challenges, such as historic storms and sea-level rise.

Great Water Cities Summit 2017The summit, held May 15–16 in New York City, provided a forum for water leaders to share experiences and expertise around investing in communities to make them more resilient. Speakers and panelists discussed the importance of financial planning and investment as well as the need to develop a new workforce by being creative and persistent in marketing water sector careers to the younger generation.

Learn more about the summit in the article, “Resilience Means More Than We Think.” Participate in this continuing discussion during WEFTEC® 2017 in the Great Water Cities: Creating the Future of Water session on Oct. 2, held in conjunction with the Opening General Session.

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