Vulnerability assessment and interdependency analysis of critical infrastructures for climate adaptation and flood mitigation

Espada Jr., Rodolfo and Apan, Armando and McDougall, Kevin (2015) Vulnerability assessment and interdependency analysis of critical infrastructures for climate adaptation and flood mitigation. International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment, 6 (3). pp. 313-346. ISSN 1759-5908


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to present a novel approach that examines the vulnerability and interdependency of critical infrastructures using the network theory in geographic information system (GIS) setting in combination with literature and government reports. Specifically, the objectives of this study were to generate the network models of critical infrastructure systems (CISs), particularly electricity, roads and sewerage networks; to characterize the CISs’ interdependencies; and to outline the climate adaptation (CA) and flood mitigation measures of CIS.
Design/methodology/approach – An integrated approach was undertaken in assessing the vulnerability and interdependency of critical infrastructures. A single system model and system-of-systems model were operationalized to examine the vulnerability and interdependency of the identified critical infrastructures in GIS environment. Existing CA and flood mitigation measures from government reports were integrated in the above-mentioned findings to better understand and gain focus in the implementation of natural disaster risk reduction (DRR) policies, particularly during the 2010/2011 floods in Queensland, Australia.
Findings – Using the results from the above-mentioned approach, the spatially explicit framework was developed with four key operational dimensions: conceiving the climate risk environment; understanding the critical infrastructures’ common cause and cascade failures; modeling individual infrastructure system and system-of-systems level within GIS setting; and integrating the above-mentioned results with the government reports to increase CA and resilience measures of flood-affected critical infrastructures.
Research limitations/implications – While natural DRR measures include preparation, response and recovery, this study focused on flood mitigation. Temporal analysis and application to other natural disasters were also not considered in the analysis.
Practical implications – By providing this information, government-owned corporations, CISs managers and other concerned stakeholders will allow to identify infrastructure assets that are highly critical, identify vulnerable infrastructures within areas of very high flood risk, examine the interdependency of critical infrastructures and the effects of cascaded failures, identify ways of reducing flood risk and extreme climate events and prioritize DRR measures and CA strategies.
Originality/value – The individualist or 'pigeon-hole' approach has been the common method of analyzing infrastructures’ exposure to flood hazards and tends to separately examine the risk for different types of infrastructure (e.g. electricity, water, sewerage, roads and rails and stormwater). This study introduced an integrated approach of analyzing infrastructure risk to damage and cascade failure due to flooding. Aside from introducing the integrated approach, this study operationalized GIS-based vulnerability assessment and interdependency of critical infrastructures which had been unsubstantially considered in the past analytical frameworks. The authors considered this study of high significance, considering that floodplain planning schemes often lack the consideration of critical infrastructure interdependency.

Statistics for USQ ePrint 29030
Statistics for this ePrint Item
Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to Published version, in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Date Deposited: 28 Apr 2016 04:43
Last Modified: 05 Sep 2016 02:49
Uncontrolled Keywords: resilience; infrastructure; disaster mitigation; built environment; vulnerability; flooding
Fields of Research : 04 Earth Sciences > 0406 Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience > 040604 Natural Hazards
Socio-Economic Objective: D Environment > 96 Environment > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960301 Climate Change Adaptation Measures
D Environment > 96 Environment > 9610 Natural Hazards > 961010 Natural Hazards in Urban and Industrial Environments
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1108/IJDRBE-02-2014-0019

Actions (login required)

View Item Archive Repository Staff Only