NY Times Magazine: “ California’s next nightmare”
This article on the flood risks in the Sacramento and San Joaquin delta includes a commentary from Professor Bob Bea. (July 1, 2011)
RESIN Organizes Successful Seminar on Levee Safety and Reliability (May 13, 2011)
The safety of levee systems is of critical importance for the protection of urban and rural areas in low-lying deltas. This issue is paramount in both the Netherlands and in California. Thus RESIN organized a seminar at UC Berkeley on May 13 to present and discuss state-of-the-art approaches for assessing levee safety and reliability in both places. The audience consisted of about 50 leading researchers, practitioners and policy makers from California and the Netherlands. The speakers highlighted approaches for assessing safety, risk and reliability, challenges in data management and policy issues. The discussions resulted in a joint agenda for research and policy challenges. Download The seminar proceedings containing information on the program, outcomes, speakers and presentations. (Please allow download time; this file is 60 MB.) Further collaborative research initiatives between institutions from California and the Netherlands are under consideration.
Contact / more information: Bas Jonkman (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Emery Roe Presented at Delta Science Program Brown Bag Series (March 16, 2011)
On March 16, Dr. Emery Roe (Senior researcher with the RESIN project) gave a presentation on findings and implications to date of a four-year, National Science Foundation funded research initiative in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The RESIN initiative focuses on developing new risk assessment and management strategies for threats to the Delta’s resilience and sustainability, such as levee failure, that affect multiple infrastructures that are adjacent or connected to each other.
The critical infrastructures of interest are the large systems for water distribution, flood protection, power supply, transportation and telecommunications in the Delta. When one system fails, others may fail as well. The RESIN research also includes assessing how the infrastructure interacts with the ecosystem, and the interdependence between the ecosystem and the infrastructure. See the Powerpoint from the presentation...
Experience keeps UC Berkeley's Robert Bea in the hot spotlight (September 28, 2010) Everywhere Bea looks, he sees disasters -- often preventable -- waiting to happen, including the levees around California's Delta and gas pipelines, such as the one that exploded in San Bruno this month. And few people seem to care, he said... The Texas-raised son of a Corps engineer, Bea has worked with BP, Shell, NASA and a variety of other companies to help prepare them for catastrophes. In a 1998 academic paper, he admonished companies that crisis management was the way to avoid oil blowouts... He tends to be close at hand when disasters occur, a coincidence he acknowledges is "creepy." Read the complete article...
Innovations: Research and News from Berkeley Engineering: "One Engineer's Efforts to Tame a Dangerous World" (September 2010) "Robert Bea’s got a problem. In fact, he’s got several: The Deepwater Horizon. Hurricane Katrina. California’s fragile 100-year-old levees.
"These are just three of more than 600 disasters or disasters-in-waiting Bea has investigated in his 57-year career as a flood protection engineer, oil and ocean engineer, risk management specialist, UC Berkeley professor of civil and environmental engineering and one of the nation’s foremost authorities on disaster mitigation." Read the full article...
RESIN Participates in TTX Discussions: On August 24, 2010, the RESIN initiative at the University of California sponsored a table-top exercise (TTX) involving over 50 participants at the California Emergency Management Association (CalEMA) State Operations Center in Mather, California.The exercise simulated the interaction of emergency management personnel and control-room operators leading up to, during, and after major storms affecting critical infrastructures in and around the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
Forty of the participants represented some 20 local, regional, state, and federal agencies, as well as private and public utilities represented in the Delta. These include: county offices of emergency services, various municipal utility districts, the California Department of Water Resources and Department of Fish and Game, CalEMA, the California Conservation Corps, CalTrans, California Department of Public Health California Utilities Emergency Association, NOAA National Weather Service, the US Bureau of Reclamation, Environmental Protection Agency, Army Corps of Engineers, the US Coast Guard, and Pacific Gas and Electric, among others. The remaining participants were observers, researchers, and facilitators from the UC-Berkeley RESIN initiative.
The goal of the exercise was to identify linkages among infrastructures under a major storm scenario. RESIN’s focus was how real-time operations are undertaken under both routine and emergency conditions for infrastructures that are spatially close or depend on each other. For example, major transmission, gas, and roads intersect at some islands next to Delta shipping channels: How might a storm affect them at the same time?
The TTX discussion was lively and highlighted strengths of the infrastructure network as well as the need for greater coordination in certain situations. Results from this event will be used to further inform the RESIN group’s understanding of interconnected critical infrastructure systems.
The table top exercise was organized by RESIN staff and supported with the generous help of Don Boland, Executive Director, California Emergency Utilities Association, Sonny Fong, the Emergency Preparedness and Security Manager of the CA Department of Water Resources, and Steve Sellers, CalEMA Assistant Secretary Prevention, Information Analysis and Operations.
San Francisco Chronicle: "Engineer Robert Bea a Student of Disaster" (June 6, 2010) "A former Shell Oil executive, Bea, 73, is a student of disaster. He has spent decades investigating catastrophic engineering failures, from the New Orleans levee breaches in Hurricane Katrina to the space shuttle Columbia's fiery end... Now he has assembled a team of researchers to delve into the April 20 explosions that destroyed the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling rig and caused the worst oil spill in U.S. history... Bea's study group already has interviewed eight people who were on the rig and has shared its findings with members of Congress. Read the full article...
UC Berkeley News: "Can the Delta Be Fixed Before Disaster Strikes?" (April 20, 2010) "Critical systems are at risk in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta if Californians can't find ways to better manage the networks of aqueducts, highways and power, gas and telecommunication lines that crisscross the region. These systems are protected by 1,100 miles of levees - some a century old - that could fail in a large earthquake, sending ripple effects up and down the state. Experts from all across Berkeley are helping the state find solutions."
Read the full article...
UCB Department of Civil Engineering: "Professor Robert Bea and RESIN Featured on UCTV" (April 8, 2010) Professor Robert Bea and his work on Resilient and Sustainable Infrastructure Networks (RESIN), at the University of California, Berkeley's Center for Catastrophic Risk Management, was recently featured on UCTV's State of Minds program. (The RESIN segment is featured at 16:36.) Professor Bea serves as the PI on the RESIN project.