Water & Wastewater Asia Jan/Feb 2018

WATER & WASTEWATER ASIA January / February 2018 40 / INSIGHT Driving response and recovery By responding quickly and methodically in the aftermath of natural disasters, communities can save lives, time, and money. Rapid dewatering, diligent emergency services, and innovative reconstruction efforts can help cities ‘build back better.’ When disaster strikes, the first questions in the minds of city managers and municipal leaders are often about water. The dual challenge of delivering clean water to citizens and removing wastewater and stormwater runoff safely becomes one of a city’s top priorities after a disaster. In recent years, city officials have found themselves facing these challenges increasingly more often. The last five years have brought a large number of unpredictable, devastating natural disasters around the world. In total, a 2016 study by the World Bank asserts global annual consumption losses from natural disasters are equivalent to US$520 billion, forcing approximately 26 million people into poverty each year. Intelligent recovery processes can drastically reduce these statistics. Given the critical importance of basic infrastructure services, every hour gained in restoring services can prevent millions of dollars or more in losses. Investments include technologies, insurance, systems, and services that accelerate infrastructure repair or restoration to minimise downtime before services resume. By assessing post-disaster resilience alternatives, cities can create new systems that allow them to withstand the damage of natural disasters. The second instalment of Xylem’s Building Resilience series addresses response and recovery and engagement with stakeholders. Building Resilience Mountains in Ladakh. Photo credit: Jochen Westermann Reproduced with permission from Xylem