Project #4709

Ground-Truthing a New Model to Estimate Earthquake-Induced Water Supply Damage and Restoration

In Progress
Principal Investigator
Research Manager
Dr. Jian Zhang
University of Colorado at Boulder
Emergency Response & Preparedness


Earthquake damage to water supply systems profoundly impacts life safety and the economy out of proportion to pipeline repair costs. The University of Colorado has developed a model of water-supply pipeline damage and restoration that accounts for:

  1. Human factors such as how repairs are slowed by electricity, mutual aid, and repair-supply limitations
  2. Damage and restoration over time, considering the mainshock, aftershocks, and afterslip
  3. Service restoration as a function of completed repairs

The credibility and usefulness of this model has already been tested by two San Francisco Bay Area Agencies. This project will apply the model to the August 2014 South Napa earthquake, in order to see whether it reasonably hindcasts the actual damage the City of Napa experienced in its water supply pipeline network.

If validated, this model can be used with confidence by operators across the west coast and elsewhere. Utilities can use the model to inform emergency plans, set mitigation investment priorities, and help federal disaster response agencies understand the effects of earthquakes on buried and above-ground critical infrastructure.