Resilient Tampa Bay 2011: A Knowledge Exchange with Dutch Experts was hosted by the University of South Florida's Patel Center for Global Solutions in Tampa, Florida, on February 21-23, 2011. The three-day workshop was organized in collaboration with local, regional, state, and international entities. More than 150 attendees heard from Dutch and local water experts on resiliency issues relating to Tampa Bay, particularly on urban flooding, storm surge, and sea level rise. Additionally, key stakeholders formed four geo-focal teams to identify vulnerabilities and to make recommendations on resiliency strategies for four defined locations: Tampa Bay, City of Tampa, City of St. Petersburg, and Gulf Beach Communities.

Major workshop recommendations can be found here.

The Challenge

Today, coastal cities around the world face a range of dynamic regional and global pressures. These pressures make coastal cities more vulnerable to flooding, storm surges, coastal erosion, and more. Global change pressures serve as threat multipliers thus increasing existing problems for these cities. The Tampa Bay region is one of these coastal areas that will become more vulnerable in the future, hence the critical need to improve its resiliency. Tampa Bay's key vulnerabilities related to water include:

  • Urban flooding events caused by heavy rainfall induce frequent but limited local damage
  • Storm surges caused by hurricanes. Occurrence probability is low but as high-impact events, they can lead to catastrophic flooding along the entire coast.
  • Sea level rise caused by climate change. As a long-term driver, it will increase existing flooding problems.

The goal of Resilient Tampa Bay 2011 was to exchange ideas on developing resiliency plans for the Tampa Bay region. The challenge was to consider plans that would protect vital infrastructure, improve conditions for economic development, and minimize the impact of hurricanes and other natural disasters. Key issues addressed were:

  • Determining the factors that make Tampa Bay vulnerable
  • Establishing progress toward improving resiliency in Tampa Bay
  • Understanding existing visions and solutions for improving resiliency in Tampa Bay
  • Recommending the next steps for improving resiliency in Tampa Bay
As part of an ongoing effort to engage Dutch water experts in addressing resiliency challenges in Tampa Bay, we partnered closely with the Dutch Consulate in Miami and the Dutch Embassy in Washington, D.C., to secure the participation of several Dutch speakers who shared some of their most effective and reliable solutions for flood resiliency. The Patel Center has been instrumental in establishing a dialogue between Dutch water experts and their counterparts in the Tampa Bay region through two previous workshops in June 2009 and November 2009. Resilient Tampa Bay 2011 built upon the momentum created from the prior workshops and will serve as a springboard to launch ongoing resiliency planning efforts in our region.

Resilient Tampa Bay 2011 was made possible with the help of its planning committee, sponsors, and partners.

A major workshop outcome was the agreement amongst key participants to continue working on improving Tampa Bay resiliency efforts. Recognizing that the February workshop was a first step in a long process, the stakeholders expressed their commitment to moving the planning forward. To achieve impact, the process should be supported by broad and inclusive stakeholder engagement. The Patel Center remains committed to convening stakeholders around Tampa Bay's resiliency planning. Contact Bessie Skoures to get involved.

Mark your calendars for the Coastal Cities Summit 2012 on April 30-May 3, 2012 in St. Petersburg, Florida. The summit will be a terrific follow up to the Resilient Tampa Bay 2011 workshop and will focus on challenges and solutions for coastal cities in the context of global change pressures. The summit will focus on best practices, smart development under a changing climate, urbanization, population growth, and vulnerable communities, maritime and port security as well as coastal energy alternatives. Resilient Tampa Bay developments will also be featured. View the summit flyer here.

A complete program for Resilient Tampa Bay 2011 can be found here and biographies of speakers and panelists can be viewed here. Additionally, you can view photos from the event here.

February 22 workshop presentations by keynote speakers and Dutch experts on solutions to improve resiliency:

February 23 workshop lessons learned/geo-focal group outcomes and summaries:

The process of improving resiliency in the Tampa Bay region can be found in several existing studies and plans. Substantive information about the vulnerability of Tampa Bay as well as concepts to improve resiliency can be found here.

25 April 2011

Dr. Vairavamoorthy at World Water Day

Patel School of Global Sustainability Director Dr. Kalanithy Vairavamoorthy was an expert panel member in the World Water Day 2011 official program, held 22 March 2011 in Cape Town, South Africa. The international observance of World Water Day is an initiative that grew out of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro... Learn more

21 April 2011

Meta-Leadership Summit Planned

The Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council and the University of South Florida will host the Resilient Tampa Bay Meta-Leadership Summit for Preparedness on May 25, 2011. The Meta-Leadership Summit will focus on strategies to empower community leaders across multiple sectors to work together in times of crisis and build a more resilient Tampa Bay... Read more

21 April 2011

Regional Resiliency Assessment Program Workshop

The Patel Center for Global Solutions at the University of South Florida and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will host a Regional Resiliency Assessment Program on May 6, 2011. The workshop is designed to improve the knowledge of private sector security professionals whose jobs are related to preventing, protecting against, responding to, and recovering from terrorist threats and incidents.

22 March 2011

Water Crisis is Personal

Kala Vairavamoorthy's first memories as a young child in Sri Lanka were at the communal well - his family collecting the water they would need for the day, cleaning their cooking vessels and bathing. Later as a young academic living with his wife's family in India, their lives were defined by a sporadic supply of water coming through the pipes. They didn't know when the water would flow to their home, so the sound of rattling pipes... Read more

23 November 2010

Sustainable Water Management in Cities Conference in Zaragoza, Spain

Patel School of Global Sustainability Director Dr. Kalanithy Vairavamoorthy and USF Professor Dr. Linda Whiteford will be presenting at the 2010 Sustainable Water Management in Cities: Engaging Stakeholders for Effective Change and Action conference in Zaragoza, Spain... Learn more

06 November 2010

Dr. Vairavamoorthy Delivers Keynote at 2010 Water Safety Conference in Malaysia

The world is at a critical point in improving access to safe drinking water. Technically recent years have see strides in household water management, systematic safety management by suppliers and in development programming. More people on the planet than ever before use piped water (more than 50%) and few people consume water from unprotected sources... View Dr. Vairavamoorthy's Keynote