Infrastructure interdependencies

Functional linkage(s) within and across different infrastructure sectors or systems (e.g., energy, transportation, telecommunications, water/wastewater, solid waste, and food).


1. Interdependencies are often seen to increase the risk of failure or disruption in multiple infrastructure sectors, which may lead to cascading impacts, or escalation of impact. See also “Cascading hazard”.

2. Identifying infrastructure interdependencies is a necessary step for building resilient infrastructure systems. See also “Infrastructure linkages”.

Interdependencies of urban infrastructures

Various infrastructure systems that underpin our cities - water, energy, transportation, and communications - may seem distinct, but they are in fact interdependent. Consider, for instance, the fact that a full 3 percent of energy consumption in the United States of America is attributable to the treatment and supply of water. When the energy used to heat water in homes is factored in, that figure doubles. The implication is clear: by conserving water, we can also save energy - a clear example of the kind of synergy that is possible within the city. The interdependencies between these systems are becoming more apparent.


Source: Mitchell, C., & Campbell, S. (2004). Synergy in the City: making the sum of the parts more than the whole. 2nd IWA leading-edge on sustainability in water-limited environments, 125-135.