Resilient Infrastructure: Can We Reduce Damage from Extreme Events?

Recent extreme weather events like hurricane Ida and the ice storms and flooding in Texas demonstrate how vulnerable our infrastructure is. This class will explore how infrastructure can be planned and implemented in ways that will reduce the environmental and human impacts caused by extreme weather events and other catastrophic occurrences such as earthquakes, forest fires, and cyber-attacks. The course will focus primarily on water infrastructure, but because of water’s interrelationships with other infrastructure, we will also talk about linkages to energy systems and buildings.

These questions help frame the key issues we will address:

- What is resilient infrastructure, and how is it different from normal or sustainable infrastructure?

- What are the impacts when infrastructure systems fail or are unable to meet their intended purpose?

- What are a “one in 100-year flood” or a “500-year storm,” and how is infrastructure designed to meet these criteria?

- Who has responsibility for providing and maintaining water infrastructure, and how should infrastructure be financed?

A key challenge to implementing resilient infrastructure is moving from rhetoric to action. Significant changes in how public officials and engineers consider the planning and construction of infrastructure are needed to assure resiliency and to minimize property damage and loss of life when infrastructure fails. This class will provide a roadmap for making these critical changes.

Group Leader: JOHN SALO
Venue: The Engineering Center
Meets on: Tuesdays 10:00 am to noon
Starting: 3/29/2022
Sessions: 6
Class Size: 24
Teaching Style: Lecture and discussion
Weekly Preparation: Optional
Group Leader Biography:

John Salo worked for 45 years in environmental engineering with a focus in water resources. He has a BS in civil engineering from Tufts University and an MS in environmental engineering from the University of Michigan and is a registered engineer. He spent most of his career with a national environmental consulting and engineering firm where he managed major water and wastewater infrastructure projects for public utilities throughout the United States. He has been a national leader on water policy issues and has written numerous articles on asset management and public utility competitiveness. He has taught two other water-related classes at BHS.