BoP's critical infrastructure of above-average resilience
26 Nov 2014
A major investigation has found the Bay of Plenty’s critical infrastructure organisations are of above-average resilience.
University of Canterbury researchers developed a new methodology for organisations to measure and benchmark an organisation’s resilience.
As part of this project the Canterbury researchers benchmarked 18 critical Tauranga, Mt Maunganui, Whakatane, and Rotorua infrastructure organisations, including six councils, in the Bay of Plenty region. The Bay of Plenty has featured in major disasters in recent decades including the Edgecumbe earthquake, the Matata land slip and the grounding of the Rena.
The study was headed by Dr John Vargo and Dr Erica Seville, co-leaders of the University of Canterbury’s resilient organisations research programme.
Resilience is important for any organisation, but where the organisation provides a critical lifeline service to the community, the importance of continuity of service is even more crucial. Critical infrastructure lifelines organisations in the Bay of Plenty worked with us to gauge how they are doing in terms of their resilience,’’ Dr Seville says.
There has been considerable effort over many years within lifeline groups across New Zealand to improve the resilience of critical infrastructure assets and networks, but there has traditionally been less focus on the resilience of the organisations that own, operate and maintain that infrastructure.
We all win when our organisations collectively become more resilience - so a unique feature of this project was to not just look at the resilience of the individual organisations - but to also look at them collectively, to see what are their common strengths and weaknesses and to share learnings between the organisations.
The greatest resilience strength in the Bay of Plenty lifelines group is effective partnerships. This is great news as these existing relationships can be used to collectively grow resilience: through sharing ideas and resources, collaborating on exercises and improving and expanding each other’s networks with other organisations. Keep fostering these relationships during business-as-usual and don’t be afraid to utilise them during a crisis.
The second strongest resilience indicator was decision making. This is another encouraging result. It is important for organisations to be able to make quick decisions in a crisis. Good decision-making is also valuable during business-as-usual.
Lifeline utilities have been developing their planning strategies for many years. This practice has clearly paid dividends as planning strategies is the third strongest resilience indicator for Bay of Plenty lifelines group,’’ Dr Seville says.
Organisations were asked how they rank their preparedness for lifeline disruption. Areas of concern are where there is a high level of dependency on a lifeline and low level of preparedness. Road, rail and port operators, as well as Councils all need to improve their planning for electricity, data and phone network disruption. Electricity, telecommunications and gas network providers need to plan better for road network disruption.
The top risks identified in the Bay of Plenty were loss of critical services, reputation damage, earthquake, severe weather and flooding which would affect electricity, telecommunications, road, rail, port and fuel.
Earlier this year, Drs Vargo and Seville spoke to the Rockefeller Foundation in New York about creating more resilient organisations. The foundation launched the 100 Resilient Cities Centennial Challenge last year to enable 100 cities to better address the increasing shocks and stresses of the 21st century.
Christchurch is receiving support from the Rockefeller Foundation to create and implement a resilience plan and hire a chief resilience officer to oversee the resilience strategy.