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MCEER Bulletin, Volume 20, Number 2, Summer 2006

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Volume 20, Number 2, Summer 2006

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LADWP Adopts MCEER Decision Support System


MCEER’s decision support system considers the interaction between LADWP’s electric power and water distribution systems

A major workshop of users and MCEER researchers was held at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) in Los Angeles to introduce and start formal implementation of the MCEER decision support system for seismic performance of the LADWP water supply and electric power system. The workshop was held December 13-14, 2005. About 100 people attended the two-day event.

Professors T. O’Rourke and M. Shinozuka made presentations on systems modeling of the water and electric power systems, respectively. Presentations also were made about a comprehensive seismic hazard assessment by W. Graf and Y. Lee, engineering seismologists at URS, Inc., who have worked with MCEER researchers to develop a state-of-the-art characterization of seismic strong motion hazards for Los Angeles electric power and water supply networks.

On the basis of this meeting and several prior workshops, a framework for the lifelines decision support system was established, and the system was formally adopted by LADWP. The decision support has been designed to represent the interaction between electric power and water distribution systems, and contains special software to model the performance of heavily damaged water supply networks.

New software, GIRAFFE (Graphical Iterative Response Analysis for Flow Following Earthquakes) involves over 7000 lines of C++ code, and works iteratively with the EPANET hydraulic network analysis engine. It can perform both deterministic and probabilistic simulations, and provides results which can be directly linked to GIS for spatial analysis and map presentations.

The program was applied to the LADWP water system and validated through the very favorable comparison of its network simulation output with pre- and post-Northridge earthquake SCADA (Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition) measurements at multiple locations in the LADWP system.

Decision support in the MCEER system involves engineering, operations, planning, and the assessment of the economic and social consequences of combined water and electric power performance. Significant progress has been made in the area of socio-economic consequences, drawing upon research by MCEER investigator Adam Rose, Pennsylvania State University, on the regional economic impact of combined water and electric power losses. He delivered the preliminary results of an integrated accounting for the economic disequilibrium generated by simultaneous loss of water and electricity.

MCEER investigator Stephanie Chang, University of British Columbia, developed refined models for the evaluation of community impact applicable to the decision support system through vigorous interaction with LADWP and LA community stakeholders and coordination with other MCEER investigators.

James Turner of the Wadsworth Center in Albany, NY, a biophysicist who is internationally renowned in sensing systems for biological processes, also participated in the workshop. Dr. Turner made presentations on the use of flexible substrate technology for real time monitoring of water supplies that was well received by LADWP. Drs. Turner, O’Rourke, and Palmer of Cornell toured the water treatment and monitoring facilities of LADWP.

MCEER researchers who participated the meeting include Thomas O’Rourke, Cornell University; M. Shinozuka, University of California Irvine; Stephanie Chang, University of British Columbia; Adam Rose, Pennsylvania State University; and Rachel Davidson and Arthur Lembo, Jr., Cornell University.