15 & 16 MAY 2024

Frankfurt Messe

World Water Day: The Need for Effective Water Infrastructure in the Face of Disasters

World Water Day: The Need for Effective Water Infrastructure in the Face of Disasters

To commemorate World Water Day, we’re putting the spotlight on an issue related to disaster management that often goes overlooked – the need for solid water infrastructure. Extreme weather events and seismic happenings can have monumental impacts on the water supply of affected areas, making resilience and recovery even more of a struggle. 

We’ve listed some of the most significant ways that water supplies can be impacted by disasters to illustrate just how essential strong water infrastructure and recovery plans are. 

General Infrastructure Damage

Disasters like floods, hurricanes, or the earthquake that hit Turkey last year can cause massive damage to water-based infrastructure, with pipelines, treatment plants, pumping stations, and reservoirs often decimated in these events. This makes it clear just how important backup infrastructure is, ensuring populations don’t suffer from water shortages.

Organic Contamination

Floods, storms, and landslides can all significantly contaminate water sources, filling the water with pollutants, debris, sediment, and dangerous microorganisms. Dirty water is remarkably dangerous when consumed, often bringing with it cholera, typhoid fever, and dysentery, all of which can be fatal, especially in already vulnerable areas. 

Manmade Water Quality Compromisation

Similar to organic contamination, disasters can also disrupt water treatment processes, which puts water at risk of being polluted with hazardous chemicals, sewage, or other dangerous materials. The impacts of this can bleed into society long after the disaster, necessitating extensive, comprehensive purification efforts. 

Increased Demand

Many disasters result in a huge increase in demand for water, such as for firefighting efforts during wildfires, cleanup processes after floods, or providing water to displaced populations. The increased demand puts water supplies under duress, which can cause serious issues if access has already been compromised. 

Damage to Distribution

Many disasters result in serious damage to transportation infrastructure, leaving roads, bridges, and other passageways inaccessible, leading to blockage in water treatment resource transportation. Without easy access to the provision of treatment chemicals, technology, and repair personnel, recovery efforts can be significantly prolonged. 

Power Outages

The damage caused by disasters will often cause widespread power outages, resulting in massive disruption to infrastructure such as water treatment plants, pumping stations, and distribution networks. While there are a lot of innovative backup power systems available, many of them don’t have the capacity to power operations of this scale. 

Organic Blockage

Floods, landslides, and storms can often lead to massive sedimentation in rivers, reservoirs, and other intake structures, which can lead to both blockages and mass water contamination. It can also result in the reduction of water storage capacity, treatment processes, and transportation processes. 

With all these potential consequences of disasters to water infrastructure, strong backup systems, treatment solutions, water quality testing, and provision tactics must be included in any disaster management scheme. It’s impossible to maintain genuine resilience if a water supply is compromised, so this World Water Day it’s important that we all recognise it as the essential aspect that it is. 

To spend time with some innovative disaster management businesses, including those dedicated to the protection of water infrastructure, register for your ticket to Disasters Expo Europe today, This comprehensive industry event ensures to cover all bases of disaster management, with water being no exception. 

Above all else, spend a moment this World Water Day to think of those who are less fortunate than many of us are, with hopes for a better tomorrow.