Innovative approaches for modeling resilience of water supply systems

Alessandro Pagano, Raffaele Giordano, Ivan Portoghese, Michele Vurro, Umberto Fratino

Thursday 2 july 2015

16:30 - 16:45h at North America (level 0)

Themes: (T) Extreme events, natural variability and climate change, (ST) Learning from disasters

Parallel session: 13I. Extreme events - Lessons Disaster

The concept of resilience is becoming increasingly important for societies, particularly as far as critical infrastructures and services are concerned. It represents the ability of complex systems to anticipate, absorb, adapt to and / or rapidly recover from a disruptive event. Fostering resilience of such systems supports in facing disasters, reducing their impacts on assets and services that deserve a strategic importance on the wellness and safety of citizens, such as drinking water supply systems. The number and complexity of features contributing to resilience (structural properties, economy, society, environment, …) as well as their interconnections and mutual interferences, makes such issue particularly challenging. The major challenges include uncertainty about relationships, data gaps, time and budget constraints. These challenges can be addressed by adopting innovative approaches (e.g. SDM). One of the major issues is to identify and assess the influence of measures that can be implemented, contributing to strengthen the resilience of a system. They can be implemented in different temporal phases (preparedness, to ‘anticipate’; mitigation, to ‘resist’ and ‘absorb’; response, to ‘respond’ and ‘adapt’; recovery), and should be quantitatively assessed, considering their effectiveness as well as the associated costs and limits. The paper summarizes some results of a research activity that is being carried out within a research agreement between the Italian Department of Civil Protection and the Water Research Institute of the National Research Council. The main objective of the present work is the definition of an innovative approach to resilience for drinking water infrastructures, particularly focused on the role of water utilities and their organizational aspects. Several Italian water utilities (AQP S.p.A, GSA S.p.A., AIMAG S.p.A.), well experienced in the management of extreme events, were involved in a knowledge elicitation process aiming at characterizing the resilience of water supply systems, and potential actions useful for increasing it. The results were structured quantitatively through the development of conceptual models, useful for supporting decision makers involved in the management of drinking water systems under extreme events.