In this month’s issue of Municipal Water Leader, we bring you the stories of municipal water providers and managers facing the devastating storm surge, winds, and rains that are brought by major hurricanes and other natural disasters.

Our cover story brings you the story of Bay County, Florida, which was hit by the unexpectedly serious Hurricane Michael in October 2018. The category 5 storm knocked out power, blocked roads, and wreaked catastrophic damage on facilities of the Bay County Water Division, the county’s water wholesaler. Nevertheless, within 8 days, water was available at all the system’s points of delivery.

We also report on how two cities are updating their systems after historic hurricanes of recent decades.
Col. Michael Clancy of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ New Orleans District tells us about the massive storm defenses that have been built around the Big Easy since Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, and staff from the New York City Department of Environmental Protection tell us about the updates they have implemented to their wastewater treatment systems since Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

Arkansas experienced serious river flooding earlier this year. Director A.J. Gary of the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management tells us about how his agency prepared for and responded to this natural disaster. Commissioner Randy Conner of the Chicago Department of Water Management tells us about his agency’s current priorities, including conservation efforts and environmental initiatives.

Finally, Tim Pickering tells us about his company, Interim Public Management, which provides interim managers and executive-level staff for agencies like municipal water districts that are searching for permanent candidates to fill those positions.

Water is a necessity, and not even a hurricane can be allowed to cut off drinking water and wastewater services. The water managers and other professionals we interview this month have faced down enormous natural disasters and kept the citizens of their cities provided with vital services. In reading about how they managed to do this, I hope you gain new knowledge and an even greater respect for this country’s water professionals.

Kris Polly is editor-in-chief of Municipal Water Leader and Irrigation Leader magazines. He is also president of Water Strategies LLC, a government relations, marketing, and publishing company he began in February 2009 for the purpose of representing and guiding water, power, and agricultural entities in their dealings with Congress, the Bureau of Reclamation, and other federal government agencies. He may be contacted at