Case studies

In the South West Region of Ireland, extreme weather events (unusually heavy rainfall and extremely low temperatures in comparison with climatic norms) have become more frequent in recent years. A crystallizing event took place in November of 2009, in the city of Cork when substantial quantities of water were released from a large reservoir adjacent to the city, coinciding with a high tide and a period of significant rainfall over the previous number of days. This resulted in severe flooding of large proportions of the City Centre and its Western approaches through which the river flows. Fresh water infrastructure was notably affected, with one of the pumping stations being out of service for almost two weeks.
Since 2009 there have been a number of similar, though not quite as severe occurrences in this region in Ireland. Though these weather conditions are not extreme by the standards of other countries, for this region the increases in such rainfall and flooding leads to worries regarding the development of the local climate and the changes this brings with it.

Due to the increase in rainfall and flooding, and the disruption to critical infrastructure, the South West Region forms an excellent case study setting. This location encounters some of the more extreme weather conditions generated by the Atlantic Ocean. Additionally, the presence of some of the largest and highest mountain ranges in Ireland means that it experiences more heavy rainfall annually than most other areas. Given that the area is also one of the most populous and developed regions, the impacts on infrastructure in the area are also likely to be more extreme.
The case study will analyse the hazards related to extreme weather events and critical infrastructure in the area. The direct and indirect impacts to critical infrastructure will be examined more closely, using a hazard analysis and an impact analysis. Scenarios will be worked out on how best to respond. The response measures will be analysed from a multi-disciplinary perspective. The case study is supported by the South Western Regional Authority (SWRA).

The extreme weather events which affect the port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands can be relatively diverse. Indeed several types of impacts of hazards on critical infrastructure can be identified, both with long and short term effects. This is not surprising given that the Rotterdam area has a multi-modal transport network connected with the port hinterland as well as urban areas and industrial complexes close by. Given the range in types of CI in place, there is more room for different types of EWE to make an impact. Common problems to the Port of Rotterdam can originate from storms and heavy rainfall, leading to disruptions in the port and transport operations, damages and power outages. Disruptions in the transport chains at the port can have costly ramifications. Extreme weather has been known to necessitate closing the port and blocking shipping as well.

The Rotterdam Port area forms a good case study location. It is located in a delta area, near the sea and major rivers. Like other European ports (including Antwerp, Hamburg, Valencia and Le Havre) It is understandably vulnerable to EWE. As such there is good reason for looking at a representative port such as the one at Rotterdam to analyse various CI impact scenarios.
The project examines the current status of the EWE and CI hazards in detail, the risk analysis performed for the current climate situation and mitigation scenarios, analysis of future risks, and finally an assessment of measures and strategies to alleviate these risks. There are several Dutch authorities involved in the region and the transport activities, such as The Port of Rotterdam Authority, ProRail (rail owner), Rijkswaterstaat (road and waterway owner), LSNed (pipelines owner), EVO (branche organisation of transport operators) and the safety region S-Holland-S (first responder). Each of these organisations fully supports the case study.

The Campagnia region in Italy has seen increased levels of extreme precipitation in recent years. This resulted in increasingly frequent landslides, especially in rural regions. Heavy rainfalls, thunderstorms, and avalanches take place on a yearly basis. These have rather extreme impacts on the infrastructure and are dangerous to human life. The Campagnia region saw a rapid growth in population during the last years and its infrastructure developed rapidly in response. This means that there is a higher level of exposure to both inhabitants and infrastructure to extreme rain and landslides. The authorities recognise a need for more responsive CI for structures which can help alleviate the impacts of this more extreme weather.

Due to the rise in population, urban and industrial infrastructure and its mountainous areas, the Campagnia region forms a useful area of study. The issues of heavy rainfall, storms and landslides are important issues for other rural and mountainous regions to consider, as these can have dire effects on infrastructure, sweeping away or destroying buildings and other structures in moments. Especially in a situation where the public is less able to accept risks and disruptions to infrastructure, learning how best to remedy the common CI problems is very beneficial.
In this case, the current status of the EWE and CI hazards will be examined in detail, the risk analysis performed for the current climate situation and mitigation scenarios, analysis of future risks, and finally an assessment of measures and strategies to alleviate these risks. This forms an example for other similar regions across Europe as to how best to alleviate EWE effects on CI. The authorities involved in this case study include Local Authorities in the study areas: Provincial Administration of Salerno, Municipal Administrations of Salerno and Orvieto.

The Southern area of Finland has large rural and forested areas. In case of extreme winter conditions, this can lead to severe issues in delivering electricity to the inhabitants of those areas. Extreme winter conditions are not unfamiliar to this region of Finland but they steadily become more frequent. The extreme cold has cascading impacts. Power delivery in this area of Finland mainly uses power cables which run through the country and forests through overhead lines. In extreme cold and during storms power lines can be damaged and power delivery comes to a halt. Besides homes being without power (with power reserves typically lasting from 6 - 12 hours), communication is also affected. With cold conditions, the roads also become less accessible. Service crews have trouble reaching the affected areas. Communication is often problematic at this point. Fresh water infrastructure and sewage systems are also affected by the continued lack of electricity, resulting all in all, in cascading impacts.

These issues are characteristic for the forested and rural areas such as Southern Finland. This region forms an interesting case. As with the other cases, the work to be done will first involve exploring the hazards being faced in the area by EWE and CI. In this case the power outages and blackouts will form special areas of interest. Then a risk analysis for current and future climate situations will be explored, and finally, the different measures and strategies for mitigating these specific weather conditions will be assessed. The stakeholders include the Elenia Grid company (local electricity distribution network operator), and a cluster of safety and security stakeholders in the Pirkanmaa Region (coalition of local security authorities, municipalities, healthcare operators, police department, companies, etc.)

In the Southern Region of Spain the summer periods often see increases in the surface temperature, leading to droughts, heat waves and flash floods. Droughts, which are gradual phenomena, occur relatively frequently. Though dangerous to CI, droughts are a different type of emergency due to their gradual development. Quantification concerning their severity and their impacts is difficult. They affect CI such as transport, civil water and energy infrastructures. Added to this is the fact that when torrential rains occur in such dry areas, CI suffer. For instance in 2012 in Andalucia and Murcia, torrential rains led to the collapse of buildings, and two bridges on two motorways, resulting in massive damages and the deaths of 12 persons. The cascading effects of such CI damages will form the focus of this case study.

This case of the Southern Region of Spain is a useful area for a case. It allows for EWE to be studied in depth for their impacts on CI. Understanding more gradual EWE is also of interest which can be studied in this case. Understanding and analysing the hazards presented by an EWE to the Spanish CI and society will form the first steps of the work in this case study. Then a risk analysis of heat waves, droughts and flash floods will be carried out. Future risks and alternatives will be evaluated, as will the measures and strategies for mitigating these EWE effects on CI. The main stakeholders involved in this case study are the Agencia de Obra Publica de la Junta Andalucia (Andalucia Public Works Agency) and the IRIDIUM Concesiones de Infraestructuras SA (Infrastructure consession holder).