Resilience in water infrastructures: A review of challenges and adoption strategies

Apurva Pamidimukkala, Sharareh Kermanshachi, Nikhitha Adepu, Elnaz Safapour

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


An increase in the number and strength of natural catastrophes experienced over the past few decades has accelerated the damage sustained by infrastructures. Drinking water and wastewater infrastructure systems are critical aspects of a healthy environment, and their ability to withstand disasters is vital for effective disaster response and recovery. Although numerous studies have been conducted to determine the challenges that natural disasters render to water infrastructures, few extensive examinations of these challenges have been conducted. The goal of this study, therefore, was to identify and categorize the challenges related to the resilience of drinking water and wastewater infrastructures, and to determine the strategies that most effectively minimize their unintended consequences. A comprehensive evaluation of the existing literature was conducted, and 537 publications were collected. After extensive screening, 222 publications were selected for rigorous evaluation and analysis based on the data collection methods and other criteria. A total of fifty-one (51) challenges were determined and classified, within the following five categories: environmental, technical and infrastructure, social, organizational, and financial and economic. The challenges were then ranked within each category according to their frequency of occurrence in previous research. The results reveal that climate change, aging infrastructure, lack of infrastructure capital, population growth, improper maintenance of water infrastructure, and rapid urbanization are the most frequently cited challenges. Next, 30 strategies and approaches were identified and categorized into either preventive or corrective actions, according to their implementation time. The findings of this study will help decision-and policymakers properly allocate their limited funding to enhance the robustness of their water infrastructures before, during, and after natural hazards.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number12986
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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