Building a Resilient, Energy-Efficient, Self-Sufficient Utility Service

The pumping and drainage system of the city of New Orleans, which sits below sea level, is regularly tested by extreme weather events. FUSE executive fellow Priya Dey-Sarkar joined the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans (SWB- NO) to help implement enhanced process safety controls, create an enterprise risk management framework for the agency, improve construction safety, and increase operational reliability.

Priya worked with the Safety and IT teams to roll out a new website that features reporting tools and a process for reviewing safety issues. She created a safety committee and developed a detailed gap analysis to identify priorities around equipment maintenance, safety protocols, organizational culture, and other critical concerns. Priya led the safety training meetings of hundreds of staff members, including technical staff, managers, and city executives on a complex data platform used to inform the public about drainage and drinking water issues during major weather events. She mapped out an initial power strategy that scales up use of renewables and high-efficiency turbines, increases the resiliency of the power grid, and is likely to reduce the cost of power and water for residents of New Orleans.

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