5th Annual Seminar of the UNESCO Chair in Sustainable Water Services “Resilience in Water Services”
Friday 25th August 2017
Chaired by Dr. Pekka E. Pietilä
Heli Harrikari, Dean of the Faculty of Business and Built Environment, opened the seminar with a welcome to the attendees. She also gave the opening remarks towards the University of Tomorrow, consisting of three universities in Tampere, namely TUT, UTA and TAMK that will be merged and the knowledge will be developed together.
Professor Chad Staddon, University of Western England, International Water Security Network, Bristol, UK: “Concepts of resiliency and security in water management”:
Professor Chad Staddon presented the definition and concept of resiliency. The urban resilience is the capacity of individuals, communities, institutions, business and system. Engineering water resilience for water systems relies on understanding and manipulating of 4 basic abilities: the ability to monitor, the ability to respond, the ability to learn and the ability to anticipate. The case of Future Bristol Low Carbon 2050 was introduced.
Dr. Alexandros Makarigakis, Programme Specialist, Water for Human Settlements, Division of Water Sciences, Paris UNESCO: “Resilience of Water Systems as Seen in IHP Activities”
In his presentation, Dr. Makarigakis discussed the objective of Smart Water Management Systems that is commonly to improve efficiency at water utilities both at the resource level and the distribution level, to develop early warning systems, and to provide decision support system for the incident response.
Furthermore, UNESCO’s International Hydrological Programme (IHP) was presented. The Water Information Network System has been developed within this programme. It is an open source and open access platform that combines geolocalized data. The objective is to serve as a global reference in the design and support of operations, management, and decision support functions for sound water resources governance.
Dr. Osmo Seppälä, CEO, Finnish Water Utilities Association: “Resilience and water utilities”
Key elements of good water services were introduced. The PPPs Concept for resilience and water utilities was defined as “Plan, Prepare and Practice”. Water utilities currently make risk assessment and risk management plans but more future oriented approaches could make utilities even better prepared for unexpected and expected anomalies and events. It can be suggested that incorporate future tools as a part of routine utilities management practices should be prepared for the future risk management.
Overall views on the morning session, by Adjunct Professor Harri Mattila
Three spheres in sustainability, ecological, social and economical dimensions should be reconsidered. Moreover, the three nested systems of sustainability – the economy wholly contained by society, and further wholly contained by the ecological should be considered.
Adjunct Professor Petri S. Juuti: “Historical Lessons for Resiliency in Water Services”
Juuti´s presentation shows that in Europe, surface water was initially taken from nearby sources and as these became contaminated from farther away. The utilization of groundwater started later, and artificial groundwater will likely be produced in the future. Wastewater polluted the water systems until their efficient treatment started relatively late. The industry began to protect waters later by increasing co-operation with the waterworks when the time was ripe. When the increase in the water consumption leveled off, the emphasis shifted to water quality.
Juuti confirmed that history studies can be used for resilience. It is good to know the historical background of early water supply and sanitary systems because they still affect our available options. Moreover, strong political will and good water governance play an important role in problem solving.
Professor Pekka Verho, TUT: “Interrelationship of Water and Electricity Services in Comprehensive Security”
Verho presented how his research can provide help and forecast on the duration in the critical situation, especially, blackout in Finland. There are interrelationships between water and electricity services. Water services need electrical power for pumping of water and wastewater. In the case of blackout, something else is required, for example water tower, backup power for pumping and alternative distribution of drinking water. Therefore, some information is important such as interrelationship, critical pumping stations and probability of blackouts, in the case of blackout.
Researcher Joanna Kalalahti, Police University College: “Resilience in the context of national safety and security – viewpoints from KIVI project”
The vulnerability of critical infrastructure and operational capability of authorities was introduced. Kalalahti´s presentation focused on how to develop the operation capability (resilience) of authorities. Updatable tools to evaluate the risk management and new concepts to complement conventional approaches should be established.
Doctoral student Jyrki Laitinen: “Resiliency in water services with good governance”
Resiliency in water services needs good practices in technology, economy and management. Good governance is an ideal practice and seldom totally achieved, but it should be a target and all measures taken towards it. The eight characteristics of good governance can be applied in water services, and when properly adopted the resiliency in water services is easier to achieve. Good governance does not concern only water utilities, but also all players in the water services chain, government, municipalities, private service and equipment producers. For supporting good governance, methodical tools can be applied; standard management systems, Water Safety Plan (WSP), Sanitation Safety Plan (SSP) and water services development plans. Full cost recovery based on water fee is a principle that should be applied for investments and operation.
Doctoral student, CEO Markus Sunela, Fluidit Ltd &Tallinna Tehnikaülikool: “Water distribution network resilience indices”
Sunela presented a water supply system model as a tool to analyze the water network. Some water distribution network resilience consists of graph theories, hydraulic, quality and energetic. The energy use for water distribution and the protection of polluted areas are concerned by using simulated models.
Doctoral student Riitta Syvälä: “Resilience and urban stormwater management”
Syvälä presented views on the management of stormwater, reducing stormwater loads to wastewater sewers, EU flood directive, guidance for stormwater management zone and stormwater strategies. The main questions that should be debated in Finland are: Lack of requirements on qualitative measures regarding stormwater. More experimental studies on urban hydrology, for example in the four-season climate including a cold winter period, have to be taken into account. Urban planners and practitioners in municipalities have difficulties in adopting more sustainable stormwater technologies and systems due to the lack of knowledge and guidance. Stormwater strategies are needed at different decision levels.
Adjunct Professor Jarmo Hukka, “SDG 6 – Mission impossible without increased investments and better economic resilience?” Sustainable Development Goal, clean water and sanitation were mentioned.
UNESCO Chairholder Tapio S. Katko: “Towards the Era of Operational Economy”
Political view and professional view play an important role on resilience of water service. Appropriate size, RDI activates, HRD, adequate pricing, stakeholder involvement, institutional development should be taken into account from the resiliency point of view. According to his presentation, it can be concluded that aging infrastructure it the biggest future challenge of water services worldwide. Long-term thinking: pasts, presents and futures for more resilient futures are needed. Besides, resiliency needs to be seen in wider institutional framework.
Concluding remarks on resilience were summarized by Doctoral student Laura Inha.
As clearly shown in the presentations and discussions, resilience has many aspects such as history and the futures, development, governance, finance and operations. Resilience in water services also engages other sectors, out of which electricity and public authorities were presented. To achieve resilience collaboration is clearly needed. Water sector cannot do this alone.
Though a lot is clearly already being done, more is required. Recommendations and solutions mentioned today: Professional and political will, good governance, preparedness, modeling and tools, research, capacity building, strategies, money, long-term thinking, publicity, regulation and legislation.
Despite the great ideas, the dilemma of executing these recommendations in practice often remains. Many times a common problem in introducing new ideas and ways of working seems to be lack of time. Perhaps attracting attention and getting more publicity will enable us to justify and secure the time. So, next time when a water related crisis hits: don’t let a good crisis go waste – carpe diem.
Reported by Patchraporn Rerkrai