NZ Lifelines Utilities Forum 2020
Sharing knowledge, best practice and lessons learned – through both failures and success – is a crucial part of building resilience.
New Zealand’s annual Lifelines Utilities Forum provides the opportunity for essential infrastructure and service providers to do this. Attendees include utility providers for water supply, wastewater, stormwater, electricity, gas, telecommunications, roads, rail, airports, and ports, as well as researchers, emergency management professionals, and central government agencies.
This year’s Forum was held in Tauranga. Tauranga City Council shared their long-term program to create resilient infrastructure, emphasising the need to understand all hazards to effectively prioritise investment. A series of presentations looking at climate change risks, recent flood event impacts and water infrastructure failures highlighted the increasing resilience challenges posed by ageing infrastructure, rising sea level, and increasing storm frequency and severity? We presented our work with the Resilience Shift’s Potable Water Primer that outlines challenges and recommendations for creating resilient water supplies.
The current COVID-19 pandemic also featured, with presentations from government agencies and businesses involved in the response. This fascinating session showed some of the serious COVID response challenges and the lesser-known unintended consequences of decisions (such as the closing of butchers leading to welfare issues for pigs as there was nowhere to keep them).
The event is extremely useful and if you work in critical infrastructure in a region or country that does not yet have this kind of event, get started on forming one now.