Lifeline Vulnerability to Volcanic Eruption: Learnings from a National Simulation Exercise


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by Dave Brunsdon, Kestrel Group Ltd, P O Box 5050, Wellington 6045, New Zealand, db@kestrel.co.nz,
Brian Park, Watercare Services Ltd, Private Bag 92 521, Wellesley St, Auckland 1141, New Zealand, bpark@water.co.nz,



Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: TCLEE 2009: Lifeline Earthquake Engineering in a Multihazard Environment

Abstract: Exercise Ruaumoko was a national disaster preparedness exercise based on the scenario of a volcanic eruption within the Auckland Volcanic Field in New Zealand. More than 1,500 participants from approximately 125 organisations were directly involved, including local and central government agencies and private companies, making it the largest exercise of this type held in New Zealand. All lifeline utilities were affected to various degrees by this scenario, which highlighted again how vulnerable the Auckland region is to disruptions of lifeline utilities, and the national implications of the loss of some of those services. This paper provides an overview of the exercise and summarises the physical impacts and management issues arising for each of the key lifeline sectors in response to the volcanic scenario, along with the post-exercise action points. The response and technical issues faced by bulk water and wastewater service provider Watercare Services (both seismic and volcanic in nature) in their simulated operational response are discussed.

Subject Headings: Lifeline systems | Volcanic eruption | Volcanoes | Disaster preparedness | Private sector | Wastewater management | Water management | Local government | Auckland | New Zealand

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