Key services' quake response to be studied

Last updated 05:00 28/08/2012

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Christchurch Earthquake 2011

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Canterbury University researchers have started a three-year study on how Christchurch's main infrastructure providers responded to the earthquakes.

Dr Bernard Walker and Associate Professor Venkataraman Nilakant will conduct in-depth case studies of selected "lifeline" utility services in Christchurch as part of the $540,000 Government-funded project.

Companies surveyed will include those providing electricity, gas, water, telecommunications and transport networks such as road, rail, airports and ports.

The quakes damaged 124 kilometres of water mains, 50,000 roads, 300 kilometres of sewerage pipes and 205 major power cables in Christchurch. The cost of rebuilding the damaged infrastructure has been estimated at $2 billion.

The researchers will provide recommendations for improving resilience in normal times so staff can cope when disaster strikes.

Walker said the public took core infrastructure for granted, noticing it only when services failed.

"We expect [services] to continue to function even in the face of a major disaster," he said.

Walker said the research had "major implications" for New Zealand.

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- The Press

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