Evaluating and enhancing resilience in water infrastructure is a crucial step towards more sustainable urban water management. As a prerequisite to enhancing resilience, a detailed understanding is required of the inherent resilience of the underlying system. Differing from traditional risk analysis, here we propose a global resilience analysis (GRA) approach that shifts the objective from analysing multiple and unknown threats to analysing the more identifiable and measurable system responses to extreme conditions, i.e. potential failure modes. GRA aims to evaluate a system's resilience to a possible failure mode regardless of the causal threat(s) (known or unknown, external or internal). The method is applied to test the resilience of four water distribution systems (WDSs) with various features to three typical failure modes (pipe failure, excess demand, and substance intrusion). The study reveals GRA provides an overview of a water system's resilience to various failure modes. For each failure mode, it identifies the range of corresponding failure impacts and reveals extreme scenarios (e.g. the complete loss of water supply with only 5% pipe failure, or still meeting 80% of demand despite over 70% of pipes failing). GRA also reveals that increased resilience to one failure mode may decrease resilience to another and increasing system capacity may delay the system's recovery in some situations. It is also shown that selecting an appropriate level of detail for hydraulic models is of great importance in resilience analysis. The method can be used as a comprehensive diagnostic framework to evaluate a range of interventions for improving system resilience in future studies.
Diao, K., Sweetapple, C., Farmani, R., Fu, G., Ward, S., & Butler, D. (2016). Global resilience analysis of water distribution systems. Water Research, 106, 383–393. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.watres.2016.10.011