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Infrastructure Resilience Conference 2018

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Addressing Sea Level Rise Using Probabilistic Risk Analysis A Case Study of the San Francisco Seawall Resilience Project

Coastal flood risk in the San Francisco Bay Area is increasing year over year as a result of sea level rise. The decision-makers who are responsible for long term planning face a wide range of future sea level scenarios. Until recently, most future sea level rise projections had not been assigned probabilities, which made risk-based planning infeasible. This led many governments, developers, and planners in coastal regions to rely on a scenario-based approach that favored deterministic design standards over probabilistic ones. Now, with increasing availability of probabilistic sea level rise projections, it is possible to use a more sophisticated, risk-based, approach to plan for sea level rise. We demonstrate this approach using the San Francisco Seawall Resilience project as a case study. The Seawall Project, led by the Port of San Francisco, is currently entering a design phase where targets will be set for the future design height of the wall. This project encompasses nearly three miles of San Francisco’s bay-facing shoreline and is estimated to cost up to $5 billion. This research illustrates the advantages of using a risk-based approach to identify the most economically efficient level of flood protection for project, rather than simply selecting a sea level rise scenario and designing accordingly. This is achieved through a probabilistic risk analysis that incorporates flood hazard statistics, incremental costs of seawall construction, and expected annual flood damages over various planning horizons for a range of project alternatives. The methodology for this project builds upon the approach developed in the Netherlands for the economic optimization of flood defenses in coastal areas, with expanded consideration of epistemic uncertainties in future sea level rise severity. This presentation will provide an overview of the risk-based planning framework developed for sea level rise using the San Francisco Seawall Resilience project as a real-world example.

Jack Hogan
Stanford University
United States

Karen Barns
Stanford University
United States

 

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