Funded by the National Science Foundation's Directorate for Engineering, the Resilient and Sustainable Infrastructure Networks (RESIN) initiative is developing methodologies and curricula for 21st century engineering involving multiple, interdependent critical infrastructures.
The Berkeley RESIN initiative focuses this challenge on the interdependent, interconnected and interactive critical infrastructure systems (I3CIS) of California's Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta region. These infrastructures include, but are not limited to:
- water supply and flood control systems (including levees)
- electric power and natural gas
- telecommunications and transportation
- eco-infrastructure of wetlands, marshes and other habitat
Many infrastructures spatially intersect in the region and are critical to the state and beyond.
RESIN’s fieldwork began in 2009 and includes site surveys and the development of Risk Assessment and Management (RAM) methods. This 2010 field work is focused on and around Sherman Island, which sits in the middle of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
Sherman Island has been called “the cork in the bottle” that is the Delta because of the critical infrastructures that pass across, under and over the island. These include natural gas pipelines, regional electricity transmission lines, two deepwater shipping channels that run alongside it, the Pacific Flyway that passes over the Lower Sherman Island Wildlife area (the remnant left after the 1969 levee breach),and the presence of Highway 160 (a link between major expressways Hwy 80 and 4, and a “short-cut” to Sacramento). The 2009 five-year plan prepared for Island’s Reclamation Districts quotes figures that estimate thet closure of State Highway 160 alone would cost approximately $70,000 per day of forgone benefits, while the cost of a two month outage of two 500 kV lines to be some $42 million.
California's Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta region represents a rich interdependent mix of physical, economic, and ecological infrastructures. Its transportation networks include highways, pipelines, railroads, natural gas storage, electricity transmission lines, and deepwater ports. It is vulnerable to dynamic hazards of regional, national and Pacific Rim proportions, including liquefaction from earthquakes and rising sea levels and droughts resulting from climate change.
Failure of the critical infrastructure in the Delta region could be catastrophic for California and for the United States. The region supplies drinking water for 23 million people. It contributes $4 billion annually to the GDP. An estimated 400,000 human residents and 700 native species of plants and animals live there.
A wealth of data sets on the Delta region is publically available through the state of California. Sound research on the region can positively influence risk mitigation decisions at both the state and federal levels.
This RESIN poster helps to illustrate why study of the Delta is critical.