A reliable fresh water supply and resilient water utility systems are of paramount concern to coastal communities. This study seeks to understand how communities prepare for the types of environmental stresses and shocks that are likely to occur in the future. The conventional wisdom holds that when uncertainty is high communities should build up general traits associated with resilience, which will help them prepare for, and cope with, whatever comes along. But what defines resilience? How do coastal communities build adaptive capacity to manage stresses and shocks to their aging water utility systems while increasing capacity to meet a growing demand? This study hopes to answer these questions and others by tapping into the expertise of experienced water managers through interviews, focus groups, and an on-line survey.