Evaluating the Benefits of Adaptation of Critical Infrastructures to Hydrometeorological Risks

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Journal Article
Risk Analysis, 2018, 38 (1), pp. 134 - 150
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© 2017 Society for Risk Analysis Infrastructure adaptation measures provide a practical way to reduce the risk from extreme hydrometeorological hazards, such as floods and windstorms. The benefit of adapting infrastructure assets is evaluated as the reduction in risk relative to the “do nothing” case. However, evaluating the full benefits of risk reduction is challenging because of the complexity of the systems, the scarcity of data, and the uncertainty of future climatic changes. We address this challenge by integrating methods from the study of climate adaptation, infrastructure systems, and complex networks. In doing so, we outline an infrastructure risk assessment that incorporates interdependence, user demands, and potential failure-related economic losses. Individual infrastructure assets are intersected with probabilistic hazard maps to calculate expected annual damages. Protection measure costs are integrated to calculate risk reduction and associated discounted benefits, which are used to explore the business case for investment in adaptation. A demonstration of the methodology is provided for flood protection of major electricity substations in England and Wales. We conclude that the ongoing adaptation program for major electricity assets is highly cost beneficial.
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