Air Force water resilience tools crucial for mission assurance

  • Published
  • By Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

In honor of World Water Day, the Department of the Air Force is highlighting the suite of water assessment tools it uses to understand installation water needs, bolster resilience, and maintain mission assurance.

Water systems enable many DAF capabilities, yet competing industrial uses, increased demand from growing populations, climate change impacts, and aging infrastructure threaten the DAF’s continued ability to obtain the quality and quantity of water needed for mission success.

To better grasp these water challenges, the DAF is taking a leadership role in water risk analysis across the Department of Defense.

“The DAF is developing tools and systems to better understand water sources, vulnerabilities, and reliance on this precious resource for mission assurance,” explained acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Environment, Safety, and Infrastructure James Sample. “Our installations must be prepared to meet the growing challenges in water quantity, quality, and access to ensure we have enough water when and where it is needed for the continuity of mission operations.”

The Installation Water Dashboard, an interactive data repository, serves as an information tool for determining installations’ water vulnerabilities. The tool captures all installation-specific water infrastructure data in a single comprehensive platform, including: water consumption practices, water rights, and regional water risks.

After piloting the dashboard across several installations, the DAF rolled it out enterprise-wide in 2021 to help characterize water vulnerabilities, support water resilience planning, and streamline and standardize reporting into an easy-to-navigate resource.

Created in part to help installations meet requirements set forth by the 2018 America’s Water Infrastructure Act, the Risk and Resiliency Assessment Risk Tool helps the DAF better understand threats to installation drinking water systems.

The RRA Risk Tool assesses the vulnerability of key drinking water assets to threats such as hurricanes, power outages, cyberattacks, and pandemics, in addition to assigning each asset a calculated risk score. Installations use these scores to better understand risks to their respective water systems, inform emergency response planning, and bolster overall water system resiliency.

Through water resilience modeling and data collection, the DAF is better equipped to navigate water vulnerabilities, increase preparedness and resiliency, and achieve the mission to fly, fight, and win in air, space, and cyberspace.