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A simplified method for rapid estimation of emergency water supply needs after earthquakes

September 25, 2021

Researchers are investigating the problem of estimating households with potable water service outages soon after an earthquake. Most of these modeling approaches are computationally intensive, have large proprietary data collection requirements or lack precision, making them unfeasible for rapid assessment, prioritization, and allocation of emergency water resources in large, complex disasters. This study proposes a new simplified analytical method—performed without proprietary water pipeline data—to estimate water supply needs after earthquakes, and a case study of its application in the HayWired earthquake scenario. In the HayWired scenario—a moment magnitude (Mw) 7.0 Hayward Fault earthquake in the San Francisco Bay Area, California (USA)—an analysis of potable water supply in two water utility districts was performed using the University of Colorado Water Network (CUWNet) model. In the case study, application of the simplified method extends these estimates of household water service outage to the nine counties adjacent to the San Francisco Bay, aggregated by a ~250 m2 (nine-arcsecond) grid. The study estimates about 1.38 million households (3.7 million residents) out of 7.6 million residents (2017, ambient, nighttime population) with potable water service outage soon after the earthquake—about an 8% increase from the HayWired scenario estimates. 

Publication Year 2021
Title A simplified method for rapid estimation of emergency water supply needs after earthquakes
DOI 10.3390/w13192635
Authors Joseph Charles Toland, Anne Wein
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Water
Index ID 70224530
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Western Geographic Science Center