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Vulnerability of critical infrastructure in Christchurch to tsunami


This research reviews global tsunami impacts on critical infrastructure and uses this information to develop a tsunami damage matrix for critical infrastructure components and systems. This damage matrix was then applied to Christchurch.

Consistent with observations from previous international tsunamis, above-ground assets and buried stormwater pipe networks in Christchurch were found to perform poorly, while buried potable and wastewater pipe networks were less impacted. This method is applied to Christchurch but is also widely applicable to other locations.


Emergency management relevance

This research shows where infrastructure networks in Christchurch are most vulnerable to tsunami damage, and where welfare and support may be most needed after a tsunami.


Additional information

Authors: James Williams, Thomas Wilson, Nick Horspool, Emily Lane, Matthew Hughes, Tim Davies, Lina Le, Finn Scheele

Date: 2019

Funders: GNS Science; NIWA Taihoro Nukurangi, Natural Hazard Research Platform, Toka Tū Ake EQC, University of Canterbury, Mason Trust Fund, Environment Canterbury.

Format: Published - Natural Hazards

Reference: Williams, J. H., Wilson, T. M., Horspool, N., Lane, E. M., Hughes, M. W., Davies, T., Le, L., & Scheele, F. (2019). Tsunami impact assessment: Development of vulnerability matrix for critical infrastructure and application to Christchurch, New Zealand. Natural Hazards (Dordrecht), 96(3), 1167-1211.