2015 CSCE Annual Conference Regina - Building on our Growth Opportunities

2015 CSCE Annual Conference Regina - Building on our Growth Opportunities Conference

Tools to evaluate the vulnerability and adaptation of infrastructure to climate change

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Dr. Guy Felio, Engineers Canada (Presenter)

It is fundamentally clear that climate change represents a profound risk to the performance of engineered systems and to public safety in Canada and around the world.  As such, professional engineers, asset managers and decision-makers must address climate change adaptation as part of their primary mandate – the protection of the public interest, which includes life, health, property, economic interest and the environment.  Climate change produces significant changes in statistical weather patterns resulting in a shifting foundation of the base design data. Physical infrastructure systems designed using this inadequate data are vulnerable to failure, compromising public and economic safety.

The paper starts by presenting an overview of the impacts of climate change as witnessed in the last decade. It presents an overview of tools available to decision-makers and infrastructure practitioners to consider climate change impacts to infrastructure, from planning to operations and maintenance. It offers a review of available tools to develop community adaptation plans, to assess the climate components in policy, and to evaluate the engineering vulnerability of infrastructure assets and systems. Although the article describes some international and research tools, it focuses on processes and methodologies that have been used by public agencies and municipalities to identify and quantify risks, as well as develop climate change adaptation solutions.

Finally, Engineers Canada’s PIEVC Protocol, a methodology used in more than 40 instances across Canada to evaluate the vulnerability of infrastructure is described. The Protocol has been applied to a wide spectrum of infrastructure: roads, highways, bridges and associated structures; potable water, wastewater and storm water systems; electrical transmission infrastructure and dams; buildings; airports; and coastal infrastructure. The case studies cover all regions of Canada.