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Critical Infrastructure

This is a project funded through the Western Massachusetts Homeland Security Advisory Council to study critical infrastructure of the water and energy sectors using an all-hazards method in an effort to understand the myriad of threats in both the short and long term using an evidence-based approach. Critical infrastructure is a term used to describe assets that are essential for the functioning of a society and economy. Critical infrastructure protection is a concept that relates to the mitigation, preparedness, response and/or recovery to serious incidents that involve the critical infrastructure of a region in a focused effort to assure these systems remain functional at all times.

To date, the project has focused on critical infrastructure resiliency in Western Massachusetts, specifically energy and water assets, and made recommendations on how to better protect water (water/wastewater and storm water) and energy (electricity and natural gas) networks, beginning with Greenfield, Northampton, Pittsfield and Springfield. Phase II further expanded to include Deerfield, Holyoke, Amherst and North Adams.

There were two goals: 1) to understand how many water and energy issues were impacted on multiple fronts in Western Massachusetts; and 2) to develop plans that take these variables into account. This information can then be used in the planning and implementation of projects to improve resiliency. These projects were designed to adapt critical infrastructure to conditions Western Massachusetts actually faces, as opposed to simply considering historical data as a guide.

By early 2014 the additional goals will be completed:

  • Identification of water and energy assets in the remaining area of western Massachusetts
  • Asset Assessments of identified critical infrastructure
  • Asset Manager Training
  • Established agreements with asset owners to maintain asset information in the Commonwealth CI/KR database – In addition assist owners to established PCII Officers (Protected Critical Infrastructure Information Officer)
  • Develop Taxonomy and create a form to include culvert information in ACAMS
  • Outreach and awareness meetings/trainings with area first responders

This project is on hold as the Commonwealth’s Critical Infrastructure database is revamped.