Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Crisis in Urban Water Systems during the Reconstruction Period: A System Dynamics Analysis of Alternative Policies after the 2003 Earthquake in Bam-Iran


Quick restoration of critical infrastructure systems, such as water, electrical power, natural gas, and transportation systems, are essential for rapid and effective post disaster recovery and reconstruction process. A number of previous studies have assessed vulnerability of infrastructure systems to various hazards such as earthquakes, but seldom have the impacts of post disaster policies been considered. In its assessment of the water system in post disaster situation after Bam earthquake, this paper examines the impacts of various reconstruction as well as water management policies on the system failure in operation in terms of the ability of Bam urban water system to meet increased demand trends. Adopting a system dynamics modeling approach and the concept of viability loops, the paper will show that in order to minimize further crisis in the water system during the reconstruction period stricter water management policies need to be considered.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Adachi T, Ellingwood BR (2008) Serviceability of earthquake-damaged water systems: effects of electrical power availability and power backup systems on system vulnerability. Reliab Eng Syst Saf 93:78–88

  2. Adger WN (2006) Vulnerability. Glob Environ Change 16:268–281

  3. Akbari ME, Farshad AA, Asadi-Lari M (2004) The devastation of Bam: an overview of health issues 1 month after the earthquake. Public Health 118:403–408

  4. American Lifelines Alliance (ALA) (2001) Seismic fragility formulations for water systems, Part 1 guideline. ASCE, Reston

  5. American Water Works Association (1984) Emergency planning for water utility management. American Water Works Association, Denver

  6. Arboleda CA (2006) Vulnerability assessment of the operation of health care facilities during disaster events. PhD thesis, Purdue University, West Lafayette

  7. Argothy V (2003) Perceptions of acceptable levels of performance of different elements in the built environment in the event of a major earthquake. University of Delaware, Disaster Research Center, Preliminary Paper, #331. http://dspace.udel.edu:8080/dspace/bitstream/19716/293/1/PP%20331.pdf

  8. Asian Development Bank (2005) Sri Lanka 2005 post-tsunami recovery program preliminary damage and needs assessment. Asian Development Bank and Japan Bank for International Cooperation and World Bank, Colombo

  9. Bagheri A (2006) Sustainable development: implementation in urban water systems. Water Resources Engineering Department Lund University, Lund, p 204

  10. Bagheri A, Hjörth P (2005) Monitoring for sustainable development: a systemic framework. Int J Sustain Dev 8(4):280–301

  11. Bagheri A, Hjörth P (2007) A framework for process indicators to monitor for sustainable development: practice to an urban water system. Environment, Development and Sustainability 9:143–161

  12. Bagheri A, Asgary A, Levy J, Rafeian M (2006) A performance index for assessing urban water systems: a fuzzy inference approach. J AWWA 98(11):84–92

  13. Berke PR, Kartez J, Wenger D (1993) Recovery after disaster: achieving sustainable development, mitigation and equity. Disasters 17(2):93–109

  14. Chang SE, Shinozuka M, Moore JE II (2000) Probabilistic earthquake scenarios: extending risk analysis methodologies to spatially distributed systems. Earthq Spectra 16(3):557–572

  15. Conrad SH, LeClaire RJ, O’Reilly GP, Uzunalioglu H (2006) Critical national infrastructure reliability modeling and analysis. Bell Labs Tech J 11(3):57–71

  16. Davenport PN (1998) Assessment of seismic risk for the water industry. In: Proceedings of NZWWA 40th annual conference, Wellington, 1998, pp 266–271

  17. Davenport PN, Lukovic B, Cousins WJ (2006) Restoration of earthquake damaged water distribution systems, in “Remembering Napier 1931”. In: Proceedings of the 2006 conference of the New Zealand society for earthquake engineering, 10–12 March 2006. Napier. Paper No. 44

  18. EERI (2004) Learning from earthquakes: preliminary observations on the Bam, Iran, Earthquake of December 26, 2003. EERI Special Earthquake Report—April 2004, Tehran. http://eeri.org/lfe/pdf/iran_bam_eeri_preliminary_report.pdf

  19. Eguchi R (1983) Seismic vulnerability models for underground pipes, earthquake behavior and safety of oil and gas storage facilities, buried pipelines and equipment, PVP-77. ASME, New York, pp 368–373

  20. Eguchi RT (1991a) Early post-earthquake damage detection for underground lifelines. Final report to the National Science Foundation, Dames and Moore PC, Los Angeles

  21. Eguchi RT (1991b) Seismic hazard input for lifeline systems. Struct Saf 10:193–198

  22. Fattahi P, Fayyaz S (2009) A compromise programming model to Integrated Urban Water Management. Water Resour Manag. doi:10.1007/s11269-009-9492-4

  23. French SP, Jia X (1997) Estimating societal impacts of infrastructure damage with GIS. URISA J 9(1):31–43

  24. Füssel HM (2007) Vulnerability: a generally applicable conceptual framework for climate change research. Glob Environ Change 17:155–167

  25. Gastélum JR, Valdés JB, Stewart S (2009) A decision support system to improve water resources management in the Conchos basin. Water Resour Manag 23:1519–1548

  26. Gleick PH (1996) Basic water requirements for human activities: meeting basic needs. Water Int 21(2):83–92

  27. Haimes YY (2006) On the definition of vulnerabilities in measuring risks to infrastructures. Risk Anal 26(2):293–296

  28. Hellström D, Jeppsson U, Kärrman E (2000) A framework for systems analysis of sustainable urban water management. Environ Impact Asses Rev 20:311–321

  29. Hjörth P, Bagheri A (2006) Navigating towards sustainable development: a system dynamics approach. Futures 38:74–92

  30. Ingram JC, Franco G, Rumbaitis-del Rio C, Khazai B (2006) Post-disaster recovery dilemmas: challenges in balancing short-term and long-term needs for vulnerability reduction. Environ Sci Policy 9:607–613

  31. International Centre for Geohazards (2004) Bam Earthquake of 26 December 2003. ICG Reconnaissance Mission, ICG report 2004-99-1, 16 April 2004. http://www.geohazards.no/pdf/Bam_earthquake_report-ICG.pdf

  32. Iran Statistical Center (2007) Annual statistical report. Iran Statistical Center, Tehran (in Persian)

  33. Janssen MA, Schoon ML, Ke W, Börner K (2006) Scholarly networks on resilience, vulnerability and adaptation within the human dimensions of global environmental change. Glob Environ Change 16:240–252

  34. Jeon S, O’Rourke TD (2005) Northridge earthquake effects on pipelines and residential buildings. Bull Seismol Soc Am 95(1):294–318

  35. Katayama T, Kubo K, Sato N (1975) Earthquake damage to water and gas distribution lines. In: Proceedings of the US national conference on earthquake engineering. pp 396–405

  36. Kyessi AG (2005) Community-based urban water management in fringe neighbourhoods: the case of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Habitat Int 29:1–25

  37. Madani K, Mariño MA (2009) System dynamics analysis for managing Iran’s Zayandeh-Rud river basin. Water Resour Manag 23:2163–2187

  38. Menoni S, Meroni F, Pergalani F, Petrini V, Luzi L, Zonno G (2000) Measuring the seismic vulnerability of strategic public facilities: response of the health-care system. Disaster Prev Manag 9(1):29–38

  39. Monzavi MT (2004) Urban water distribution. University of Tehran Press, Tehran (in Persian)

  40. Nadim F, Lindholm C, Remseth S, Andresen A, Moghtaderi-Zadeh M (2004) Bam Earthquake of 26 December 2003. ICG Reconnaissance Mission, ICG report 2004-99-1

  41. Nigg JM (1995) Business disruption due to earthquake-induced lifeline interruption. University of Delaware, Disaster Research Center, Preliminary Paper, #220. http://dspace.udel.edu:8080/dspace/bitstream/19716/626/1/PP220.pdf

  42. O’Brien KL, Leichenko RM (2000) Double exposure: assessing the impacts of climate change within the context of economic globalization. Glob Environ Change 10:221–232

  43. O’Brien K, Leichenko R, Kelkar U, Venema H, Aandahl G, Tompkins H, Javed A, Bhadwal S, Barg S, Nygaard L, West J (2004) Mapping vulnerability to multiple stressors: climate change and globalization in India. Glob Environ Change 14:303–313

  44. O’Rourke TD, Jeon S-S (2000) Seismic zonation for lifelines and utilities. In: Proceedings of the sixth international conference on seismic zonation. Palm Springs, CA, November 2000 [EERI CD-ROM]

  45. Porter KA, Scawthorn C, Honegger DG, O’Rourke TD, Blackburn F (1992) Performance of water supply pipelines in liquefied soil. In: Eguchi RT (ed) Proceedings of the fourth US–Japan workshop on earthquake disaster prevention for lifeline systems. Los Angeles, August 19–21, 1991. National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, pp 3–17

  46. Rashed T, Weeks J (2003) Assessing vulnerability to earthquake hazards through spatial multicriteria analysis of urban areas. Int J Geogr Inf Sci 17(6):547–576

  47. Rudolph JW, Repenning NP (2002) Disaster dynamics: understanding the role of quantity in organizational collapse. Adm Sci Q 47:1–30

  48. Saysel AK, Barlas Y, Yenigun O (2002) Environmental sustainability in an agricultural development project: a system dynamics approach. J Environ Manag 64:247–260

  49. Stave KA (2003) A system dynamics model to facilitate public understanding of water management options in Las Vegas, Nevada. J Environ Manag 67:303–313

  50. Sterman JD (2000) Business dynamics: systems thinking and modeling for a complex world. McGraw-Hill, New York

  51. Tierney KJ (1997) Business impacts of the Northridge Earthquake. J Conting Crisis Manag 5(2):87–97

  52. Tierney K, Dahlhamer J (1997) Business disruption preparedness and recovery—lessons from the Northridge Earthquake, University of Delaware, Disaster Research Centre, Preliminary Paper No. 257, Newark, Delaware

  53. Tierney K, Webb GR (2001) Business vulnerability to earthquakes and other disasters. University of Delaware, Disaster Research Center, Preliminary Paper, No. 320, Newark, Delaware

  54. Vlachos D, Georgiadis P, Iakovou E (2007) A system dynamics model for dynamic capacity planning of remanufacturing in closed-loop supply chains. Comput Oper Res 34(2):367–394

  55. Winchester P (2000) Cyclone mitigation, resource allocation and post-disaster reconstruction in South India: lessons from two decades of research. Disasters 24(1):18–37

  56. Winz I, Brierley G, Trowsdale S (2009) The use of system dynamics simulation in water resources management. Water Resour Manag 23:1301–1323

  57. Yang CC, Chang LC, Ho CC (2008) Application of system dynamics with impact analysis to solve the problem of water shortages in Taiwan. Water Resour Manag 22:1561–1577

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to Ali Bagheri.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Bagheri, A., Darijani, M., Asgary, A. et al. Crisis in Urban Water Systems during the Reconstruction Period: A System Dynamics Analysis of Alternative Policies after the 2003 Earthquake in Bam-Iran. Water Resour Manage 24, 2567–2596 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11269-009-9568-1

Download citation


  • Urban water system
  • Post disaster reconstruction
  • Critical infrastructure
  • System dynamics
  • Bam earthquake
  • Iran
  • Crisis index