Back to search results

Redundancy, Modularity and Flexibility help

The existence of two separate water treatment facilities in the City of Boulder allowed safe water to continue to flow even when one plant was knocked out. The existence of a single sewage treatment plant that nearly failed exposed the city’s vulnerability. Creative thinking about smaller, modular sewage treatment plants, or even in-home composting toilets that could generate an entire local industry represent potential ways to make the system less dependent on a single facility. The existence of an extensive road network in the plains allowed transportation to flow even when floods closed a large number of roads. In the mountains the physical terrain made this redundancy more difficult, and thus several towns were cut off, or alternate routes added hours to any trip. One solution for the mountains would be to choose one or two important routes and construct them to a far higher standard than the others, which would increase the chances that at least one route would remain open in a disaster situation. Ideally, these two roadways would have different vulnerabilities, so they would not be likely to both fail in the same type of disaster.

PERC Reports