2013 Climate Adaptation Champion, Business - Sydney Water

Sydney Water - 2013 Business Adaptation Champion

Delivering sustainable water and waste water services to over four million people, Sydney Water have drawn on their extensive experience in managing climatic and weather related extreme events to embed adaptation to climate change into ongoing corporate planning and risk management. They have developed and implemented leading processes, decision logics and tools to calculate and deliver least cost performance and servicing standards, over time and in changing climatic conditions.

Starting in 2008 with a qualitative risk assessment of the impacts of climate change on infrastructure, maintenance and operations, the Business Strategy & Resilience team has engaged the organisation in the understanding and treatment of high priority risks including sea level rise, inundation of low- lying assets and extreme weather events. 

They have since translated science into relevant and usable scenarios for understanding the vulnerability of their assets, and they are key participants in the Commonwealth Critical Infrastructure Protection Modelling and Analysis (CIPMA) program, recognising that water infrastructure is a vital artery to the resilient functioning of the City as a whole. They have established a baseline understanding of their existing resilience to natural hazards and system failures, by quantifying the impact of past natural events, and assessing the interdependency of their infrastructure with bulk water, energy and telecommunication suppliers to identify any current adaptation deficits. 

These inputs and learnings have informed the creation of a flexible, scalable and responsive adaptation management framework with the capability to compare the impact of climate change and adaptation on cost, asset life, risk likelihood and consequence. This means that across the business, decision-making is informed by a long-term view of climate variability and change in the context of other key business risks and considerations, using bespoke cost benefit analysis and multi-criteria assessment for infrastructure, maintenance, operations and customer servicing.

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