Integrated Geohazard Assessments
Over the last five years, RIL staff have pioneered the development of Integrated Geohazard Assessments through which a wide range of physical processes and their susceptibility to the effects of climate change can be assessed in relation to downstream infrastructure.
For development of a hydropower project, the IGA process adds value to standard Seismic Risk Analysis, Geotechnical Baseline Reports, Hydrological Risk Assessments, Environmental and Social Impact Assessments, and Glacial Hazard assessments. The IGA process looks at the entire upstream catchment to see what physical process have previously occurred at a scale that has implications for downstream infrastructure. In addition, it looks at the river system downstream of a hydropower scheme to see if there are features there that could have impacts upstream at the hydropower scheme location. This is a process referred to as ‘Event Mapping’.
Once features have been identified through Event Mapping, the processes involved in the triggering and subsequent behaviour of the event are identified through ‘Process Identification’. This looks at the susceptibility of the previous event to the effects of changing climate as well as seismic risk.
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The results from the IGA inform a hydropower project’s Risk Register and should also influence the project’s Disaster Risk Management Plan. There are other benefits to commissioning such an assessment, including a significant reduction in annual insurance premiums to a hydropower developer that can produce their IGA report and undertake subsequent annual reviews.
This IGA approach has been adopted by The World Bank in its 2017 ‘Climate Change Resilience and Disaster Risk Management’ guidelines and in its ‘Dam Safety in Nepal’ guidelines (also produced in 2017). The topic has been presented in several conference proceeding papers between 2015 to date.
RIL is the only company worldwide offering Integrated Geohazard Assessments and their annual reviews. This is a highly specialised service with defined processes and outcomes that are being recognised by not only insurers but also others involved in undertaking due diligence, for instance.
The source area of the rock/ice avalanche that generated the 28+m high avalanche push wave into Lake 513 at Hualcán, Cordillera Blanca, Peru. (Photo: C. Portocarrero, April 2010).
GLOF deposits from the recent outburst from Lago Chileno, Northern Patagonian Icefield (February 2017)
Large boulders deposited by a catastrophic flash flood that occurred on 6th July 2016 block the two sluice gates within the badly damaged headworks water diversion dam for the Upper Bhote Koshi HEP scheme, Nepal (June 2017)