Open access peer-reviewed chapter

# The Infrastructure Imperative of Climate Change: Risk-Based Climate Adaptation of Infrastructure

By David B. Conner

Submitted: December 10th 2010Reviewed: May 12th 2011Published: September 6th 2011

DOI: 10.5772/24717

## 1.Introduction

Infrastructure provides a foundation for the quality of life civilization enjoys around the world. This includes not only the comforts of heat during the winter, reading lights at night, and convenient transportation options, but also items paramount to public health and safety such as water treated to standards suitable for human consumption, energy for critical operations, and transport to enable society’s functioning on a daily basis.

Researchers, professionals, policy makers, technologists, planners and others are challenged regularly to create, maintain, and operate such infrastructure to improve quality of life, while balancing the Triple Bottom Line (environmental, societal, and financial factors).This is an amazing feat to strive for in itself, but now recognition of the greater potential impacts of climate changepresent additional components of uncertainty and risk that must be applied to this highly valuable and financially- and time-intensive infrastructure investment.

Water is a significant enabler of economic prosperity and well being.Water infrastructure is the medium that enables this.This infrastructure faces numerous threats and uncertainty from climate change, which directly leads to water change and subsequent needs to adapt this infrastructure in the face of a myriad of existing drivers, constraints, and expectations of water infrastructure.This chapter aims to tangibly frame the structure for adapting water infrastructure to climate change in the reader’s mind.

This complex situation becomes additionally compounded by much of the infrastructure reaching the end of its useful life, which also provides an opportunity to renew it with much more planet-friendly approaches and designs.In many areas across the globe, megatrends add an additional layer of complex challenges and opportunities, as do applicable design standards.The impacts of these infrastructure complexities are already rippling through facets beyond utilities and governing districts that operate and maintain infrastructure to industry, banking, insurance, and policy.

The level of success that can be achieved in integrating and balancing these additional levels of complexity associated with or driven by climate change will ultimately influence the level of quality of life that can be reached or preserved for future generations and the impact on environmental assets that should not be squandered in a way that would negatively impact future generations.Several key concepts can help to optimize success, such as:

• ConsideringPotential Impacts of Climate Change on Infrastructure

• Examples of Infrastructure Vulnerability and Consequences

• Importance and Challenges of Mitigation in Infrastructure

• Importance and Challenges of Adaptation in Infrastructure

• Infrastructure Asset Management Planning

• Importance

• Approach

• Climate Adaptation - Incorporating Risk and Climate Change to Prioritize Renewal

This chapter aims to build and communicate the complex picture of the risks that climate change presents to infrastructure, largely focused on the context of water infrastructure as a specific case for analysis. It also examines how to pursue more sustainable and resilientways in which to address these challenges. Included in this chapter is a solution framework for addressing the imperative need for adapting water infrastructure to climate change. This is accomplished through an investigation ofhow successful asset management is executed and the role it can play in adaptation.Also presented is how climate change adaptation planning can be rolled in to asset management to consider risks and appropriate strategies for moving forward.

A framework is needed to identify, assess, strategize, plan, and act on the risks that this infrastructure faces due to climate change.This chapter shows how climate adaptation planning and prioritization may be incorporated as a component of risk in what has been identified as a sound, successful, and actionable risk-based asset management program.The chapter aims to connect related best practices in infrastructure climate adaptation assessment, planning, and implementation in a robust, yet flexible manner for the long term.

## 2. Climate change and infrastructure

Key terms used in this chapter include “climate change”.For the purposes of this chapter, “climate change” is defined as “any significant change in measures of climate (such as temperature, precipitation, or wind) lasting for an extended period (decades or longer)” (EPA, 2011a).“Adaptation” in the context of climate change for the purposes of this chapter is the “adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects, which moderates harm or exploits beneficial opportunities” (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC, 2007).

### 2.1. Climate change implications on infrastructure

Climate change can impact infrastructure in a variety of ways, and can present significant uncertainty and risk to natural resources and related infrastructure.The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (Bates et al., 2008) notes that climate, freshwater, biophysical, and socio-economic systems are interconnected and interdependent.It also notes that water, its availability, and quantity will be the main climate change issues for societies and the environment.

Connor et al. (2009) agrees with this general philosophy.Specifically, Connor et al. (2009) calls out these major ties between climate change and the translation of the significance of its impacts on the key medium of water:

• “There is evidence that the global climate is changing.The main impacts of climate change on humans and the environment occur through water.

• Climate Change is a fundamental driver of changes in water resources and an additional stressor through its effects on other external drivers.

• Policies and practices for mitigating climate change or adapting to it can have impacts on water resources, and the way we mange water can affect climate.”

To emphasize the scale of the issue of climate change impacting water resources, often in a way that increases risk to society’s and natural resources’ well being note that Grey and Sadoff (2006) link water resources to being the foundation of economic well being. Below is a breakdown of all world-wide freshwater supply use purposes, as provided by the World Water Development Report (2006):

• 70% used for agriculture irrigation

• 22% used in manufacturing and energy applications

• 8% used for domestic applications such as consumption, sanitation, and recreation

In these applications, demand is expected to rise from 54% of available supply in 2001, to 70% in 2025 (90% if at developed country levels) (UN, 2006).The uses outlined above compete for this supply.This resource is additionally constrained by accessibility, quality, and the affects of climate change as outlined in this chapter and numerous other sources.This is especially problematic when 700M people already facing water scarcity and 900M lack access to safe drinking water.Climate change has the potential of magnifying this problematic situation and subsequently further undermining health and livelihoods (Water and Climate Coalition, 2011).

The magnitude of the water infrastructure needs in the face of climate change related to in costs (USD) is presented in Figures 1. and 2. (North America/US is outlined in subsequent tables of this chapter):

• Water adaptation to climate change, generally = US$9-11B by 2030 (United Nations UN, 2007), up to US$ 20B in developing countries (Water and Climate Coalition, 2010B).

• Water adaptation to specific scenarios of climate change = US$13.7B in drier scenarios, US$19.2B in wetter ones for water supply and flood management (World Bank, 2008)

### Table 1.

2009 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure (Adapted from:ASCE, 2009)

### 3.2. Approaches of asset management

Becoming familiar with a realistic, proven approach to managing such infrastructure is important to enable better understanding of how a framework for climate adaptation planning for water infrastructure may be structured, and the underlying foundation on which it must rely for many important components such as strategic direction, communication and buy-in, identified areas of improvement, useable data, and process implementation for execution and ongoing evaluation and revision.This section examines some key components for quality asset management.

Asset management planning can be envisioned in three major steps:service planning, asset management planning, and financial planning (Baird, 2011).Strategy must be developed based around business drivers, such as those mentioned earlier, and desired service levels of the assets, as well as an awareness of present strengths and weaknesses of the organization and its asset base.Service levels are “defined measures of performance or benefit as received by the community and environment.They usually relate to quality, quantity, reliability, responsiveness, environmental acceptability, and cost” (Urquhart et al., 2007).The State of Victoria Department of Treasury and Finance (Victoria, 1995) diagrams the myriad of considerations in effective asset management. An agency’s asset management program should encompass all of the activities illustrated in Fig. 6.

To account for and coordinate the implementation of these many complex components in a comprehensive and cohesive manner across a utility, more robust asset management endeavors are implemented via a programmatic approach for an organization.A programmatic approach can also help to enable asset management to be managed as an ongoing effort, revisited and revised as necessary, and communicated across a utility on a regular basis.Managing assets in a programmatic manner can help to best realize the benefits of asset management.(Parton et al., 2011)

Major objectives of quality asset management problems are for their analysis to look into the future, rather than the past to determine budget needs, and to be proactive.Being proactive is important to optimize a utility’s expenditure by determining the most appropriate time for refurbishment or replacement to maintain the levels of service at an acceptable level of risk and budget (Urquhart et al., 2007).These risk and budget components will need to evolve to take into consideration issues associated with changes in water due to climate change.Once the business drivers and service levels are defined for the asset set, then an assessment can be performed to identify the capabilities of the business processes of the organization and the capabilities of its assets. EPA (2008b) provides a general approach that is based on seeking the answers to “5 Core Questions of Asset Management Framework”:

• What is the current state of my system’s assets?

• What is my required sustainable level of service?

• Which assets are critical to sustained performance?

• What are my minimum life cycle costs?

• What is my best long-term funding strategy?

The flow chart in Figure 7 shows the relationships and dependencies between each one of these core asset management questions (EPA,2008b).

Asset management can evolve to more sophisticated analysis (Urquhart et al., 2007):

• Condition-based

• Performance-based

• Service-based (service-driven)

• Risk-based

Risk assessment is defined as “the process of identifying sources of hazards, estimating risk, and evaluating the results” (American Bureau of Shipping ABS, 2003).Note that “risk-based” asset management is regarded as the highest level of sophistication.This is important, as “risk” is defined as accounting for both condition- and criticality-based failure of assets (Association of Local Government Engineering New Zealand, Inc. INGENIUM, 2006). The condition analysis takes into account the likelihood that an asset would fail, based on the health, applied type of use, time in use, and typically-accepted life expectancy of that asset.These components can help to construct the declining functionality of an asset, as represented by the following curve in Figure 8 representing an asset’s probability of failure (“P-F”) over its lifespan:

The criticality analysis considers how crucial the asset is to meeting the business drivers and levels of service, as well as enabling its system and its components to also meet these.For instance, if the asset fails, what is the consequence to service, public safety and health, and how would it impact the rest of the system, integrated water resources infrastructure, or the environment if it were to fail?Combining these condition and criticality components helps to define risk for assets and numeric scales may be utilized to quantify this risk (ABS, 2003, INGENIUM, 2006, Urquhart, 2007). Risk can be expressed quantitatively as a measure of loss per unit time or presented qualitatively (ABS, 2003), as shown in Figure 9.

Risk is the product of condition deterioration and criticality (ABS, 2003, INGENIUM, 2006, Urquhart, 2007).This is expressed in Equation 1. as likelihood and criticality.

Risk = Likelihood x CriticalityE1

This product may be further evaluated based on detectability.“Detectability” indicates how easy or difficult the identification of a symptom of failure is, preferably before it occurs or before a process enabled by the asset is affected.Sydney Water Corporation (SWC) has applied detectability in its asset management practices (Urquhart et al., 2007).Incorporating climate change via water change impacts on infrastructure should be a component included in this risk analysis.This is addressed later in this chapter.

Asset data and asset systems have an important role in asset management, and when climate adaptation is overlain upon it.Data must be accurate and complete.Data systems must be useable, consistent, and up-to-date, and usually include computer maintenance management systems (CMMS) and geographical information management systems (GIS) in conjunction with an asset database at a minimum.Sound business processes must also be refined, integrated, and communicated across utilities striving for successful asset management programs.Life cycle management planning is important to maintain the value of the infrastructure asset investment and to sustainably operate it in a manner that meets service level expectations within the constraints of business drivers.

Additional approaches, details, and cases of asset management best practices are included within, ASCE (2008), Bloetscher et al. (2011), INGENIUM (2006), Urquhart et al. (2007), and other sources.

### 3.3. Climate adaptation planning to incorporate risk and climate change to prioritize renewal

As noted earlier, the Water and Climate Coalition (2010b) stated that one of the key philosophies related to climate change adaptation and water is that “risk reduction strategies must be integrated with water resources management to address severe water events”.Now that an understanding of how successful asset management of water infrastructure is conducted has been achieved, this section examines how to fold-in climate adaptation planning on such an asset management platform to enable water infrastructure to be adapted to climate change.As Cromwell et al. (2010a) notes, asset management may be the best approach to climate adaptation risk management.

As mentioned earlier, climate vulnerability ratings of water infrastructure should be assigned during the risk analysis step of asset management.A framework is needed to facilitate the roll-in of climate change risk into this risk analysis.

Cromwell et al. (2010a) presents an approach for evaluating the vulnerability of water infrastructure. Additional studies also provide further specifics that complement this approach well.The approach is based on the typical risk management paradigm:

• Risk identification – what constitutes a risk

• Risk assessment – defining what risks exist, and to what degree information and data competencies are important

• Risk management – deciding what to do about the risks at hand to achieve “low regrets” situations and implement a strategy forward for adaptation

The challenge of identifying climate change risks on infrastructure is broken into pieces, or “deconstructed”, for individual analysis and possible action.Deconstruction is initiated with the use of cause-effect climate change impact tree diagrams to provide a framework for understanding the full scope of the challenges at hand and to organize relative information.The tree diagrams represent four major “chains” of causation expected from the global warming scenario, including:

• Sea level rise

• Warmer and shorter winters

• Warmer and drier summers

• More intense rainfall events

An example of the cause-effect tree diagrams is shown in Figure 11. A similar platform could be considered for additional scenarios of climate change. Tracing through the cause-effect logic of the trees shows how climate changes produced by the global warming scenario may result in impacts on hydrologic and environmental processes that may have implications for water infrastructure (Cromwell et al, 2010b).

Next, an assessment of the magnitude and timing of the various potential climate change impacts and subsequent implications should be performed to use in a risk assessment of the water infrastructure (includes both human-made infrastructure and natural assets such as lakes and streams, etc.).The IWRM (Integrated Water Resource Management) can help in this analysis.

As noted earlier, the Water and Climate Coalition (2010b) called out IWRM as a key philosophy of climate changed adaptation and water.Others agree as well (Bogardi et al., 1994, Kindler, 2000, Miller et al., 2005). IWRM can be the most effective method for assessing adaptation options for water infrastructure and their implications in the context of an evolving regulatory environment that inherently presents competing demands (Miller et al., 2005).

IWRM is defined as a systematic approach to planning and management that considers a range of supply-side and demand-side processes and actions, incorporates stakeholder participation in decision processes, and continually monitors and reviews water resource situations.It must simultaneously address the biophysical system and the socio-economic management system that both influence water management.The associated analysis relies on hydrologic models for physical processes and must account for the operation of hydraulic structures (i.e., dams and diversions) and institutional factors that govern the allocation of water between competing demands.(Miller et al., 2005).

In the face of the high amount of uncertainty presented by climate change on water infrastructure planning, important in the analysis of climate change implications on infrastructure is what is known as the “top-down” and “bottom-up” approaches (Miller et al., 2005), as summarized in Figure 11.

The bottom-up approach relies on water system managers’ knowledge of their operations to assess the wide array of practical consequences of climate change, especially over the course of years or a couple of decades, that cannot be predicted by climate models.The typical climate models have analyses based on larger geographical and time horizons.The staff knowledge of water management organizations is used to consider the performance characteristics and tolerances of its water systems in extreme operating conditions.(Cromwell et al., 2010a).

This leads back into the specific methodology proposed by Cromwell et al. (2010a) for determining climate change risk to which water infrastructure is exposed, which also aligns well with the decision-making approach recommendations for water utilities in the U.S. as presented in Means et al. (2010).Once defined through the course of the rest of this approach, the risk component could then later be integrated into the risk analysis and subsequent planning components of a successful asset management program.The first fundamental question of assessing the risk of climate change on a water asset is now presented (Cromwell et al. (2010a):“What threshold level of change in the combination of climatic hydrologic and environmental parameters would constitute a significant challenge – an unacceptable failure risk – to existing or planned facilities and operations?” This question should be answered by the water management staff based on their expertise of each of their particular assets in the analysis at risk in the face of climate change.

Once the potential risks to assets have been defined in terms of a critical threshold, Cromwell et al. (2010a) presents the second guiding question:“What is the likelihood of seeing a threshold level of change in the combination of climatic, hydrologic, and environmental parameters that would constitute a significant challenge – an unacceptable failure risk – to existing or planned facilities and operations within capital planning or other meaningful time horizons?” The answerto this second question will need to consider climate change science to determine what climate changes and subsequent impacts and implications could exceed the thresholds defined in the first question, including the likelihood (remember the defining equation of risk) of occurrence and timing.Much of the best science, if it is even known for the particular issue, often encompasses such a high uncertainty, that the best scientific answers may be presented in the form of ranges.(Cromwell et al., 2010a)

With this high degree of uncertainty present, Cromwell et al. (2010a) emphasizes not to freeze planning decisions to await more refined scientific information, which will take much time to develop.This point is where the top-down approach depicted in Figure 10 comes into consideration.The top-down approach involves refining predictions of climate change, downscaling of climate models to apply them to local geographies and streamflow situations, and eventual IWRM planning (Miller et al., 2005).Some of this downscaling of models to local streamflows has progressed, including developing a transferable model of the process to expand applications (Bloetscher et al., 2010, Colorado Water Conservation Board CWCB, 2011, King County, 2007, and Means et al., 2010).

To address the high uncertainty associated with the timing and possible magnitude thresholds of climate impacts, Cromwell et al. (2010a) proposes a third questions to guide the analysis:“What is the overall adaptation strategy that leads to more sustainable infrastructure over the course of this century – the sustainable path?” This question can be broken down into two considerations for analysis:“How can the consequences of an anticipated threshold level of impact be avoided or mitigated through adaptive responses?”, and, “How are short term adaptation options different from longer term choices, and what is the strategic path that leads from one to the other?”Cromwell et al. (2010a) presents this third set of questions to help formulate adaptation decisions by distinguishing between the short term and long term responses to a climate change threat to give the progression of the decisions some traction.With the high degree of uncertainty inherent in such decisions, and pursuing low- or no-regret actions to adapt infrastructure to climate change, the key is to keep the selected strategies flexible. To keep them flexible, such decisions are often targeted with incremental, short-term solution.Very important, these incremental steps should keep options for the longer term open without restricting the ability to adapt the infrastructure in a way to respond to new revelations and changing conditions among climate, water, targeted service levels, and the regulatory environment. (Cromwell et al., 2010a).

In Figure 12, Cromwell et al. (2010a) depicts the framework of its components of the above overall suggested approach of this section in Figure 12. Its structure reveals how each of the climate change impacts identified in the cause-effect trees can be distilled into possible adaptation strategies via the methodology described above to keep water infrastructure on the “sustainable path”(Aspen Institute, 2009) in the face of climate change.

The impacts can be grouped into “threat bundles” to be evaluated as a package to asses which specific influences are likely to be the most critical to a water manager’s assets to consider adaptation options in a composite approach, rather than piecemeal (Cromwell et al. 2010b).These likelihoods, consequences, risks, and possible solutions can then be overlain with the same components in the asset management planning mentioned earlier to roll-up into overall strategies, budgets, communications, and organizational business for the water utility.

At the high level, Cromwell et al.’s structure may be massaged at this point into further detail and analysis to consider life safety, cost/benefits, and initial categories of action, including “must do”, “investigate further”, etc. as shown in Figure 12. Other criteria that can be incorporated at this point include commitment, regulations, readiness, catalysis, sustainability, complimenting opportunities, and other important considerations (DeGeorge et al., 2008).

As criteria and solutions continue to build in complexity, formal, proven decision making approaches and tools may be necessary to aid in analysis, prioritization, feasibility, transparency, communication, reconciliation, opportunity identificationand efficient and effective comparisons and breakdown analyses.An outline of how to apply such decision making is presented in Conner et al. (2009).

Additionally, the criteria and solutions enable important sustainability considerations such as:

• Gray vs. green infrastructure

• Low Impact Development (LID)

• Sustainability visions and plans

• Life Cycle Analysis (LCA)

Opportunity identification could include such strategies as (Conner et al., 2009):

• Energy recovery

• Enhanced water quality

• Supply optimization (i.e. water rights) and reuse

• Shared infrastructure/finance

• Conservation

• Environmental impact mitigation

While continuing to tie together suggested methodologies for adapting infrastructure in a cohesive manner in this chapter, Bloetscher et al. (2010) presents another subsequent step.Bloetscher et al. (2010) assesses vulnerable infrastructure for climate change impacts and presents specific strategies that could address the effects of climate change on that infrastructure. Once the adaptation options have been determined, Bloetscher et al. (2010) develops very specific strategies for addressing climate change impacts on the community on which their case focuses.

The community examined in the case is Pompano Beach, Florida, a coastal city which could encounter various effects of climate change on their water assets.The implications examined include those arising from the impacts of sea rise and more intense rainfall events, such as sea level rise, salt water intrusion, hydrodynamic barrier challenges, and programs involving new wells, reclaimed water, and aquifer recharge.The conclusions of the case align well with Cromwell et al. (2010),Water and Climate Coalition (2010b), and others that regional solutions will be needed and long-term water management should consist of vulnerability analysis, short- and long-term applicability of current practices.Additionally, a toolbox of technical and management solutions and a planning framework for increasing resilience and sustainability using adaptive management to deal with uncertainties was found to be necessary. Table 3. shows the specific implementation program of adaptation alternatives and supporting analysis that is considered when evaluating solutions and choosing the path forward for the community’s water infrastructure and vulnerabilities.

Bloetscher et al.’s (2010) implementation program of adaptation alternatives provides an example of how to structure the consideration, analysis, and action related to specific climate change implications on local water infrastructure.The researchers examined very specific strategies, barriers, costs, and strategy changes.These could be generally included in the “hybrid” classification of scenarios as mentioned as an adaptation alternative in Cromwell et al., 2010) for evaluating implications and action necessary for sea level rise.

Bloetscher et al. (2010) also provided a toolbox of general recommendations, largely in a coastal context, for protecting various water resources from climate change effects, as shown in Table 4.

Impact criteria and ratings can be defined, and weighting assigned to show the correlation the severity of climate change impacts and the importance of needed adaptation activities for infrastructure.This may be accomplished in a manner similar to the method presented by EPA (Johnston, 2010) for identifying the vulnerability of EPA Region 8 areas to climate change impacts. These impact rankings will help to create a ranking that can be used to prioritize adaptation activities.

For instance, a ranking of “1” would be the most severe or most threatening climate change impact to infrastructure.This would be the highest priority vulnerability to address, and its adaptation solution the highest priority adaptation activity to pursue.In many cases, this ranking would be determined as the climate change risk ranking of the product of likelihood and consequence.This can be rolled into the asset management risk scoring as an additional weight on the overall risk score.

Considering non-climatic drivers applicable to each of the applicable climate impacts and adaptation activities of concern is also important.Non-climatic drivers are, “external dynamics that have the potential to exacerbate climate change impacts”.In this sense,

 Water Resource Issue Tool Water Conservation Reduce requirements for additional treatment capacity and for development of alternative water supplies Protect Existing Water Sources Against Saltwater Intrusion Create hydrodynamic barriers:aquifer injection/infiltration trenches to counteract saltwater intrusion using treated wastewater Drill horizontal wells Build salinity structures and locks to control advance of saltwater intrusion Relocate well fields when saltwater intrusion or other threats render operations impractical Develop Alternative Water Resources Desalinate brackish waters Acquire regional alternative water supplies Capture and store stormwater in reservoirs and impoundments Wastewater Reclamation & Reuse Irrigate to conserve water and recharge the aquifer Apply to industrial uses and cooling water Implement indirect aquifer recharge for potable water Stormwater management Re-engineer canal systems, control structures, and pumping strategies

### Table 4.

Tools for protecting water resources from climate change (Adapted from: Bloetscher et al., 2010).

climate change activities should be developed and implemented using a holistic approach, rather than considered in isolation.Non-climatic drivers include:

• Land use change

• Population change

• Failing infrastructure

• Increased demand

• Demographic shifts (rural to urban migrations)

• CO2 effects on vegetation (Johnston, 2010)

As mentioned earlier, infrastructure asset systems can be inter-related and should be coordinated.The climate change risks and adaptation approaches should be considered in conjunction with climate water change risk as well, perhaps considering the risk and adaptation findings of approaches for other infrastructure systems.

One such approach is for transportation.The U.S. Federal Highway Administration has identified a useful approach for evaluating the vulnerability of the national highways to climate change, largely subsequent water change and risks (ICF, 2009).Such analysis and possible integration of climate change assessments on other such infrastructure will ultimately be useful in a more complete, efficient, and likely effective adaptation of infrastructure to climate change.Well-designed asset management approaches can help to coordinate and execute the coordinated climate adaptation of multiple infrastructure systems.

## 4. Adapting infrastructure intelligently, sustainably

As may be concluded from the discussion within this chapter,a variety of considerations, drivers, constraints, stakeholders, and other issues will be considered in actionable adaptation decisions, strategies, and actions.Ideally, and hopefully with purposeful intent, the infrastructure adaptations should be made in as resilient, dynamic, intelligent, and sustainable manners as possible:

• Resilient in the sense that the water infrastructure is modified, protected, or managed in a way that helps to serve its business drivers and levels of service commitments, while protecting and serving the health and welfare of society and the environment.Emergency management plans and contingency plans should be in place.

• Dynamic as being enabled to adapt to changing climate, and subsequently, water conditions to the extent possible, and, otherwise, strategically managed in a regular, ongoing manner to incorporate new knowledge, new risks, and new actions.

• Intelligent as in short-term steps are taken in the best interest of critical present vulnerabilities and in the best interest of the long term by not limiting the paths ahead that can be taken.Also, the management of the infrastructure includes new technologies and approaches to operating, maintaining, managing, and sustaining the infrastructure.Tools include strategic metrics and key performance indicators, real time monitoring technology, reporting performance dashboards, and other “smart” technology.The organization(s) managing the infrastructure must also have a solid foundation to enable this intelligence including a well-defined strategic direction, communication, and alignment; strong organizational capabilities and processes; and quality, applicable, accessible and well-managed data.This also includes regional collaboration and knowledge sharing.

• Sustainable in the sense of balancing the triple bottom line across the interests of society, the environment, and financial enablers and feasibilities.This includes sustainable infrastructure design, life cycle assessment, life cycle management planning to maintain asset value while operating it to meet service levels, mitigating negative impacts of the infrastructure on society, natural resources and surroundings, and closing the loop of resource use to reduce waste streams and unneeded resource consumption (Conner et al., 2009).

As mentioned earlier, much of the infrastructure in developed countries has reached the end of its designed life.The time has come to significantly refurbish, or often, replace this infrastructure (ASCE, 2009).This presents an enormous opportunity to green significant amounts of infrastructure that will serve society for decades to come, often 50 years or more.Examples of some general green infrastructure opportunities and strategies are included from Conner et al. (2009) in the previous section of this chapter.Additional approaches may be found at the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI, 2011) and WERF (2011).

Standards provide a framework for greening infrastructure in a sustainable manner.For instance, ASCE, the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC), and the American Public Works Association launched a new standards organization and rating system for sustainable infrastructure (ASCE, 2011).ISI’s (2011) rating system for sustainable infrastructure aims to be:

• Performance-based (outcomes) rather than prescriptive

• Scalable for size and complexity of projects

• Adaptable for specific needs and circumstances

• Conducive to self-assessment, as well as independent verification

• Voluntary

The demand for water resources will also have to be managed.Two main channels exist to accomplish this (Miller et al., 2005):

• Improve water efficiency – for instance, through price incentives, water transfers, technology improvements, regulations, and reduction of system water loss.

• Effective reallocation of saved water – this could often require regional collaboration and infrastructure and management mechanisms in place for the future.

## 5. Conclusions and recommendations

As discussed in this chapter, water is a significant enabler of economic prosperity and well-being. Water infrastructure is the medium that enables this.This infrastructure faces numerous threats and uncertainty from climate change, which directly leads to water change and subsequent needs to adapt this infrastructure in the face of a myriad of existing drivers, constraints, and expectations of water infrastructure.

A framework is needed to identify, assess, strategize, plan, and act on the risks that this infrastructure faces due to climate change.This chapter has shown how climate adaptation planning and prioritization may be incorporated as a component of risk in what has been identified as a sound, successful, and actionable risk-based asset management program.The chapter has aimed to connect the dots among related best practices in infrastructure climate adaptation assessment, planning, and implementation in a robust, yet flexible manner for the long term.

Additional efforts and knowledge need to be pursued to better define specific climate change impacts on local water and its infrastructure to reduce the level of uncertainty.This information should be shared and leveraged in a collaborative manner through Integrated Water Resources Management, and on a watershed, rather than political, basis when considering water supplies.

Also, ripple effects will be felt throughout associated sectors that are important to infrastructure.These include the banking, insurance, business policy (i.e., U.S. Securities and Exchange climate change disclosure risk requirements, corporate social responsibility, etc.), and industrial sectors.

Very importantly, to successfully enable and implement this adaptation, organizations that manage water and its infrastructure must develop the readiness to address climate change vulnerability and provide strategy for ongoing monitoring with needed adjustments.The organization must develop both the capacity and the capability to adapt its infrastructure, for which sound leadership, knowledge management and transfer, tools, internal and external communication, and possible change management will be needed.

## How to cite and reference

### Cite this chapter Copy to clipboard

David B. Conner (September 6th 2011). The Infrastructure Imperative of Climate Change: Risk-Based Climate Adaptation of Infrastructure, Climate Change - Research and Technology for Adaptation and Mitigation, Juan Blanco and Houshang Kheradmand, IntechOpen, DOI: 10.5772/24717. Available from:

### Related Content

Next chapter

First chapter

#### Chemistry-Climate Connections – Interaction of Physical, Dynamical, and Chemical Processes in Earth Atmosphere

By Martin Dameris and Diego Loyola

We are IntechOpen, the world's leading publisher of Open Access books. Built by scientists, for scientists. Our readership spans scientists, professors, researchers, librarians, and students, as well as business professionals. We share our knowledge and peer-reveiwed research papers with libraries, scientific and engineering societies, and also work with corporate R&D departments and government entities.

View all Books