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.