Title: Vulnerability assessment of small community water systems in Puerto Rico

Authors: Adaíl Alicea-Martínez; Rafael A. Rios

Addresses: Environmental Sciences Department, University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus, Urb. San José 313 Calle Francisco Palau, Ponce, 00728-1908, Puerto Rico ' Environmental Sciences Department, University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus, P.O. Box 70377, San Juan, 00936-8377, Puerto Rico

Abstract: In Puerto Rico, about 3% of the population gets its drinking water from 250 small community water systems. The simplicity of design, remote location and the threat of natural disasters requires a vulnerability assessment to minimise damage in the eventuality of these and terrorism acts. The objective of this study was to assess the vulnerability of 40 community water systems using a methodology developed for these aqueducts. The purpose was to determine the degree of vulnerability and the steps to minimise it in the event of natural or manmade disasters. An emergency response plan was developed for each system. The results showed that the majority of the systems had a high risk level value. An analysis of the results showed that the methodology failed to take into account factors such as requirement vs. necessity, which may have flawed the absolute value of the criticality and vulnerability of each system.

Keywords: community water systems; vulnerability assessment; small communities; criticality; emergency response planning; Puerto Rico; emergency management; drinking water; natural disasters; terrorism; aqueducts; risk assessment.

DOI: 10.1504/IER.2016.076139

Interdisciplinary Environmental Review, 2016 Vol.17 No.2, pp.132 - 148

Received: 20 Dec 2014
Accepted: 12 May 2015

Published online: 27 Apr 2016 *

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