Design and operation of urban wastewater systems considering reliability, risk and resilience

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Reliability, risk and resilience are strongly related concepts and have been widely utilised in the context of water infrastructure performance analysis. However, there are many ways in which each measure can be formulated (depending on the reliability of what, risk to what from what, and resilience of what to what) and the relationships will differ depending on the formulations used. This research has developed a framework to explore the ways in which reliability, risk and resilience may be formulated, identifying possible components and knowledge required for calculation of each and formalising the conceptual relationships between specified and general resilience. This utilises the Safe & SuRe framework, which shows how threats to a water system can result in consequences for society, the economy and the environment, to enable the formulations to be derived in a logical manner and to ensure consistency in any comparisons. The framework is used to investigate the relationship between levels of reliability, risk and resilience provided by multiple operational control and design strategies for an urban wastewater system case study. The results highlight that, although reliability, risk and resilience values may exhibit correlations, designing for just one is insufficient: reliability, risk and resilience are complementary rather than interchangeable measures and one cannot be used as a substitute for another. Furthermore, it is shown that commonly used formulations address only a small fraction of the possibilities and a more comprehensive assessment of a system's response to threats is necessary to provide a comprehensive understanding of risk and resilience.




Sweetapple, C., Astaraie-Imani, M., & Butler, D. (2018). Design and operation of urban wastewater systems considering reliability, risk and resilience. Water Research, 147, 1–12.

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