Current Lifelines Groups
Examples of Major Lifelines Reports
What is Lifelines Engineering?
‘Lifelines Engineering’ is an informal, regionally-based collaboration between Lifeline Utility representatives working with scientists, emergency managers and other professionals. This collaboration provides a framework to support integration of asset management, risk management and emergency management by Utilities. The emphasis is on pre-event planning. Post-event operational roles remain the responsibility of individual Lifeline Utilities.
The objectives of Lifelines Engineering are to reduce infrastructure outage risks and minimise restoration time when outages occur.
Regional Lifeline Groups undertake projects to reduce vulnerabilities to regional scale emergencies (regional Group activity commenced in the early 1990s). A National Committee was set up in 1999 to foster regional activity and provide a link to Government – this is now known as the New Zealand Lifelines Committee.
The Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002 requires individual Lifeline Utilities to establish planning and operational relationships with CDEM Groups. Lifeline Utilities support these Groups by exchanging information about their risk management processes and their readiness and response arrangements. In many regions, this flow of information is facilitated by participation in lifeline activities.
Lifelines Groups are established in most regions of New Zealand; and most have informal relationships with regional Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Groups, with some being defined within the structures of CDEM Group Plans.
Membership of Lifelines Groups is voluntary. Funding is typically contributed by participating organisations but usually only covers the cost of a co-ordinator/facilitator. Significant ‘in-kind’ contributions are made by participating Utilities through their involvement in Lifeline Group activities.
Traditionally, a main Group output is a Project aimed to identify key regional infrastructure vulnerabilities, often including a list of critical areas where many services may converge (e.g. bridges with other services attached). These Projects typically include mitigation recommendations. When viewed collectively, mitigation recommendations are often seen to have greater benefits than individual asset owners would take into account.
Lifelines Groups are also involved in readiness activities with outputs often including agreed priorities for disaster restoration (including priority routes), petroleum disruption planning and emergency communications arrangements.
While there has been a traditional emphasis on natural hazards, work encompasses all infrastructure outage risks. The overall outcome is a much greater understanding of regional vulnerabilities and interdependencies. Individual Utilities are encouraged to take these matters into account in developing their response plans and business cases for new investment. Local Authorities are encouraged to consider these matters within the Long Term Plans.
The various outputs from a Lifelines Group provide valuable material for Emergency Managers at regional and local levels, enabling a better understanding of the region’s vulnerabilities. This facilitates risk communication with the community, including the business sector, assisting their planning.
Utilities face strong commercial drivers to reduce outage risks. Additional benefits from continued Lifeline services accrue to the community at large. Lifeline Utilities are encouraged to take the wider societal view into account when considering reliability enhancements.