Austin Water Oversight Committee 3/3 Meeting Approach

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Ann Kitchen
Posts: 236
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2015 4:04 pm

Austin Water Oversight Committee 3/3 Meeting Approach

Post by Ann Kitchen »

Colleagues –

As our community continues to feel the impacts of the winter storm, the city must take all steps necessary to help people recover and ensure that we are better prepared and more resilient in the face of continued climate change.

Tomorrow’s joint Austin Energy and Water Oversight Committee will continue the process the City Council began last Thursday and begin a more detailed review and analysis with our staff. There is much to discuss, and we will not be able complete these discussions tomorrow.

Knowing that we have limited time tomorrow, the following topics have been prioritized and outlined to help guide the discussion and utilize our time effectively. Here’s our planned approach for the Water Oversight Committee part of the tomorrow’s meeting:

[Attached: PDF of this message - ... 120935.pdf]

Presentation from Austin Water Staff
Water Oversight Committee Members and Council to ask follow-up after each item

Austin Water’s Presentations to Austin Water Oversight Committee

1. System Overview and Timeline of Winter Storm Impacts (1hr 15 min)
- Timeline of events and Decision Points (Boil Notice, conservation, etc)
- Key Factors
· Reserve depletion (pipe breaks, usage, infrastructure issues, etc.)
· Process for rebuilding pressure
· Ullrich Plant issues and causes
· Water and Power system interactions and redundancies
- Review of Preparedness Activities and Communication
- Evaluation of preparedness and emergency response activities
- Communications review
· Text Messaging Options
· Advance Preparations Messaging

2. Financial Relief Plan for Customers (15 min)
- Impact on customer bills
- Opportunities for relief

3. Support for Community Recovery Activities (15 min)
- Public access to bottled drinking water and water hydrants
- Pipe repair assistance, access to plumbers, permitting, etc.
- Tracking water outages at apartment complexes and vulnerable communities (seniors, disabilities, low-income)

4. NEXT STEPS AND FUTURE MEETINGS: Recommendations to Improve Resilience (as time permits)
- Council Directions (passed at Council Meeting, Feb 25)
- Lessons learned and continuous improvement
- Impact of Water Forward recommendations
- Learnings from past incidents (2018 turbidity, zebra mussels, harmful algae blooms, fire retardant)
· Future Climate Change Impacts
· Impact on infrastructure planning and forecasts
· Options for hardening infrastructure

We expect Austin Water staff to post their presentation slides as backup on Wednesday morning.

Given that Austin Water is still in ongoing recovery efforts, we anticipate Item 4 to be a brief setting of Council expectations, recognizing that more a thorough discussion of lessons learned will take place once an After-Action Review has taken place and staff has responded to the directions Council voted on Feb 25th.

Based on the above, please let me know if you have additional feedback to help us prepare for Wednesday.

In closing, I want to recognize and thank our Austin Water, and all city staff for their efforts during and after the winter storm and their ongoing efforts to keep people safe during this crisis. Our community came together to support and help people – and that includes city staff who were dealing with the impacts of the storm on their families, as well as grappling with the city response.

With that said – we can and must do better. And we must do that in partnership with our city staff and our community.

Best Regards,
Ann Kitchen
Ann Kitchen
Council Member District 5