Critical infrastructure

What is critical infrastructure?

The EU (2008) defines critical infrastructure as ‘an asset, system or part thereof located in Member States which is essential for the maintenance of vital societal functions, health, safety, security, economic or social well-being of people, and the disruption or destruction of which would have a significant impact in a Member State as a result of the failure to maintain those functions’.

Critical infrastructure and FRAMES

Within FRAMES, the vulnerability of critical infrastructure assets to floods was assessed in three pilot projects: electricity grid networks in Reimerwsaal and Flood Proof Electricity Grid Zeeland pilots in the Netherlands and social and care home sectors in the Kent (United Kingdom).

How is critical infrastructure linked to the layers of MLS?

The knowledge gained from the three pilot projects looking at critical infrastructure are linked as follows to the layers of the MLS approach:  

  • Layer 2, spatial adaptation: limits flood consequences (a) when applying spatial adaptation measures for vulnerable electricity grid assets
  • Layer 3, preparedness and response: supports preparedness and emergency planning by (a) raising flood risk awareness of about the vulnerability of critical infrastructure; (b) update local flood action plans including evacuation routes and risk communication strategies based on updated flood risk maps; (d) update asset management plans;
  • Layer 4, resilient recovery: when flood preparedness measures are taken this leads to a better flood recovery for communities. 

Lessons learnt

The main lessons learned when assessing the vulnerability of critical infrastructure to floods can be found here.

Relevant adaptive capacities needed

To accomplish actions successfully, certain capacities are more needed than others. More specifically: the combination of flood risk management strategies in response to climate change depends on the adaptation space and capacity of institutions (Berkhout, Hertin and Gann, 2006). Since institutions have the ability to stimulate the capacity of  a society to adapt to climate change from the local to the national level (Gupta et al., 2010), stakeholders and organizations involved in FRAMES focused on the development of adaptive capacities at local and regional level.

The adaptive capacities that were employed and developed during the pilot projects working on community resilience are shown in the spiderweb below. We will provide more detail for those capacities that significantly increased during the pilots.

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Figure 1: Development of adaptive capacities in critical infrastructure

  • Variety of problem frames: prepare an in-depth analysis of the problem. A flood directly causes failure of the electricity grid network but also has indirect, or cascading effects on vital services such as transportation and telecom services.  Therefore, an in depth problem analysis is required to consider the perspective of all stakeholders involved in the management of critical infrastructure.
  • Human resources: create new knowledge. The pilot projects resulted in new knowledge gained  about the vulnerability of critical infrastructure in relation to flood scenarios.
  • Diversity of solutions: consider multiple measures. The knowledge generated in the pilot projects provide diverse solutions in FRM (e.g. spatial adaptation and preparedness measures).
  • Continuous access to information: make information available for all stakeholders. This knowledge and information is made available for organizations involved in managing critical infrastructure, but also municipalities and policy makers.
  • Collaborative leadership: authorities of all levels work together on the same issue. As a result of these pilot projects, collaboration between crisis management organizations, critical infrastructure owners and local authorities (local and regional) improved.
  • Visionary leadership: let all stakeholders share their insights. All stakeholders together discussed challenges and shared a common vision for the long term planning of critical infrastructure in relation to climate change.
  • Capacity to improve: be more flexible when it comes to actions and solutions. Moreover, critical infrastructure owners increased their capacity to deal with flood risk in the long term.
  • Entrepreneurial leadership and single loop learning: do something with the new knowledge to make improvements. Critical infrastructure owners are motivated and interested to integrate the gained knowledge gained to improve the current asset management plans of the critical infrastructure.
  • Double loop learning: integrate new knowledge into policy. This knowledge was also translated into policy advice to start up a discussion with policy makers and include this topic into the political agenda. For instance, in the Electricity grid network Zeeland and Wesermarsch, flood risk assessments of critical infrastructure and importance of layer 3 (emergency response) have been put on the political agendas.

What tools were used in the critical infrastructure pilots?

There are many tools that can be used when looking into critical infrastructure and floods. The FRAMES pilots have selected and successfully used the tools listed in the table below. More information can be found by clicking on the links provided..

We also uploaded a full list of all tools used to improve the management of MLS.

Name of tool Main objective Description
Workshops Collect data from main stakeholders in the area Workshop for and  with the main stakeholders of the area are organized. Each stakeholder provides information/ knowledge based on their expertise responsibility in flood risk management: crisis management, water management, technical knowledge (flood scenarios) and so on.
Stakeholder analysis Identify all stakeholders in the area A stakeholder analysis will identify all actors along with their interests and potential issues who will have a role in MLS before engaging them in the process.
Evacuation traffic model Impact assessment
3D viewer of flood scenarios Impact assessment + communication tool This impact assessment tool developed by the consultancy firm Nelen&Schuurmans as a risk communication tool to inhabitants and other stakeholders to share and discuss flood risk scenarios and evacuation routes.
3D modelling of flood risk scenarios    Assessment of flood risk, evacuation routes and shelter locations 3D modelling of flood risk scenarios to assess the flood risk of an area and look for the best evacuation routes and dry areas as possible shelter location to improve overall emergency planning
The Kent Strategic Health Asset Planning and Evaluation (SHAPE) Atlas Map the socio-spatial flood risk of an area The 'Strategic Health Asset Planning and Evaluation', or SHAPE, is a web enabled, evidence based application that informs and supports the strategic planning of services and assets across a whole health economy. Its analytical and presentation features can help service commissioners to determine the service configuration that provides the best affordable access to care.
Severe Weather Impacts Monitoring System (SWIMS) Self-assessment tools for community resilience The Severe Weather Impacts Monitoring System (SWIMS) allows Kent partners to collect data about how the services provided them are affected during severe weather events. This in turn will allow the identification of key areas and communities that are affected by flooding and other severe weather events and improve the management of those areas in line with MLS principles. It is a decision support and public tool for public organizations in emergency planning events.

SWIMS is available in the UK to local authorities through the Climate Ready programme (in partnership with the Environment Agency, Defra, LGA and Climate UK).

Mobile app Risk communication A mobile application (app) can be used as a Flood Threat Warning App and for instance include full integration within the risk communication program of the region. The app could also include  other identified natural risks of the area such as fires, droughts and extreme weather events.
KentView Self-assessment This tool helps to build MLS concepts into

business-as-usual in a number of teams including health and social care teams and more widely across the Sustainable Business and Communities team.

Climate Just Aid in developing socially just responses to the impacts of flooding Free web tool, developed by the World Health Organization, that considers the most recent scientific evidence on the health impacts of climate change.
Cost-Benefit Analysis Quantification of spatial measures An economic technique applied to public decision−making that attempts to quantify the advantages (benefits) and d

isadvantages (costs) associated with, in this case, potential spatial measures.

Vital Asset tool    Measuring (in)direct effects of floods on vital infrastructure This method and tool supports professionals in determining direct and indirect effects of floods on certain vital infrastructure, social systems or the impact on an area as a whole. It can be combined with GIS modelling.

Developed by the RAAK Consortium (2017-2018):  HZ University of Applied Sciences, Province of Zeeland, Reimerswaal, Safety region Zeeland, Rijkswaterstaat Zee & Delta, Waterschap Scheldestromen and Deltares.

LIWO Information on water and floods in the Netherlands National information system Water and Floods (Landelijk Informatiesysteem Water en Overstromingen) consists of layers of maps. LIWO was developed specifically for Dutch professionals in preparation for excess of water and floods.

Developed by Watermanagementcentrum Nederland (WMCN).

Critical Infrastructures: Relations and Consequences for Life and Environment (Circle)   Identification of cascade-effects of flood scenarios on critical infrastructure The Circle tool, developed by Deltares, identifies cascade-effects of flood scenarios on critical infrastructure. 

This tool can be used during collaborative modelling and workshops; a workshop guideline is freely available online  

Risk label method Impact assessment: map the risks of electricity assets The Risk label method is a hazard-risk based approach used to analyse/map the risk of electricity assets in case of a flooding considering direct and indirect failure (cascading effects) of the medium-voltage network. Developed by Nelen & Schuurmans, a consultancy firm and results were discussed and validated during workshops with electricity gridexperts (Enduris, Evides, KPN and Delta) of the Flood Proof Electricity Grid pilot.
Climate Change Risk and Impact Assessment (CCRiA) Assessment of climate risk A tool to better understand the impacts of climate change on key sectors and motivate action. To this end, the KCC has reviewed the existing UK Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA).
Social media Communication and dissemination To increase and improve the flood awareness and self-efficacy of citizens and organizations, social media channels are advised to be used: YouTubeTwitter, Facebook, local press (TV, newspaper, magazines, radio), websites, newsletters, brochures, leaflets, events and meetings.  ·


Hier wordt aan gewerkt of naar verwezen door: Layer 2- Spatial adaptation