Strategies for 21st Century Risk Management and Climate Change Communication

October 31st, 2019


Full Presentation

Abby Sullivan’s slides

Alison Adams’ slides


Join us for our October webinar where we discuss how to effectively engage stakeholders both outside and within your organization in conversations about climate change and how to mainstream that information using an Enterprise Risk Management framework.

Abby Sullivan, from the Climate Change Adaptation Program at the Philadelphia Water Department, will discuss communication and engagement best practices using evidence-based strategies. She will look at specific barriers to communicating and mainstreaming climate change information and provide resources and case studies with tested tools and solutions.

Alison Adams, a Principal Engineer with INTERA Incorporated, is a water resources engineer focused on water supply planning and resiliency projects. She will discuss her work as a consultant to the Southern Nevada Water Authority to help them to incorporate climate change information into existing programs and processes to reduce enterprise-wide risks. The Enterprise Risk Management Framework (ERM) looks holistically at risks across the utility, including new and emerging risks from climate change and the ways climate change could exacerbate existing risks. The Enterprise Risk Management framework creates a governance structure that ensures risks like climate change are mainstreamed and addressed throughout the entire organization.

Water Utility Climate Alliance:
Abby and Alison both have experience with the Water Utility Climate Alliance, a group comprised of 12 of the nation’s largest water utilities with a mission to collaboratively advance water utility climate change adaptation. Alison, in her previous role working for Tampa Bay Water, was the Chair of WUCA from 2014 to 2016. The Philadelphia Water Department joined WUCA in 2016, making Abby one of the newest members of the WUCA family. You can learn more about WUCA here:


Abby Sullivan is an Environmental Scientist at the Philadelphia Water Department where she works on the Climate Change Adaptation Program (CCAP). The program was formed to better understand the impacts that climate change will have on PWD’s drinking water, wastewater and stormwater systems and to develop cost-effective adaptation strategies to build resiliency to higher temperatures, more intense precipitation and higher sea levels. Abby leads all analyses and risk assessments related to sea level rise and storm surge. Results are informing resiliency planning and design guidelines and decision-making tools for the Department. Abby also leads external and internal climate communication efforts and she previously worked on public outreach and green stormwater infrastructure planning for the Green City, Clean Waters program. Abby has a Master’s degree in water resource management from the University of Akureyri in Iceland. She enjoys strong coffee, bad puns, rainy days, soccer and renovating her 100+ year-old house.

Alison Adams, Ph.D., P.E. is formerly the Chief Technical Officer at Tampa Bay Water, the largest wholesale public water supplier in the state of Florida. Dr. Adams, a water resources engineer, has worked in Florida on large-scale water supply and management problems for over 35 years. As Tampa Bay Water’s Chief Technical officer, she was responsible for permitting and regulatory compliance, water supply planning and demand forecasting at multiple time scales, and decision support for risk, reliability and source allocation and the Agency’s Information Technology group. Dr. Adams also directed research into climate variability and climate change and the effects on supply reliability for the Tampa Bay region and management strategies to mitigate these effects. Dr. Adams represented Tampa Bay Water as the chair of the Water Utility Climate Alliance.  She co-founded the Florida Water and Climate Alliance with the University of Florida and co-managed a project with the University of Florida and the Southeast Climate Consortium on downscaling global climate model output for use in the agency’s integrated hydrologic model. She directed the agency’s efforts on defining supply reliability under climate uncertainty. Dr. Adams was responsible for implementing programs which project long-term water demand for the agency’s service area, optimize Tampa Bay Water’s water supply, and maximize environmental protection across the region. Dr. Adams was also the Agency’s Asset Management Program Manager, she provided oversight on the development of Tampa Bay Water’s Asset Management Plan and implementation of the program. Currently Dr. Adams is a Principal Engineer with INTERA Incorporated, focusing on water supply planning and resiliency projects for utility and water manager clients.

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