Irmana Garcia Sampedro, winner of the Hynds Best Paper Award for her presentation of her paper, How to plan for an earthquake event: Essential data collection approaches for underground infrastructure condition assessment”, (view here) has been invited to present at the XIIIV Mexico, Central America and Caribe ICLEI international conference to be held in Puerto Morelos (Mexico), 27 – 29 November, 2019.

ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability

ICLEI is a global network of more than 1,750 local and regional governments committed to sustainable urban development. Active in 100+ countries, it influences sustainability policy and drives local action for low emission, nature-based, equitable, resilient and circular development. Their members and team of experts work together through peer exchange, partnerships and capacity building to create systemic change for urban sustainability.

ICLEI Mexico was interested in a Spanish speaker in the field Asset Management and Resilience Infrastructure, and Irmana’s invitation has been supported by IPWEA NZ and Christchurch City Council, given the valuable opportunity for knowledge-sharing and buliding professional connections.

What happens to water infrastructure when an earthquake hits?

Irmana will sit on the Urban Infrastructure Resilience Panel, alongside others including APWA – American Public Works Association.  Irmana’s presentation will outline the consequences of earthquakes on water infrastructure, key learnings in this area, how understanding the risk enhances community resilience, and how we will address future challenges like climate change.  Irmana will share from key projects such as, Groundwater Monitoring Network, Coastal Hazards viewer, Liquefaction Study, and Alpine Fault Magnitude 8 (AF8).

Lastly but perhaps most importantly, Irmana will emphasise the need for managers of underground infrastructure to map their data consistently across territories, to get a national picture of how climate change may affect infrastructure, and also to be able to prioritise efforts in the case of a major earthquake affecting multiple locations.

IPWEA NZ Communications Manager Freda Wells caught up with Irmana to ask a few questions in the lead up to her trip to Mexico:

What do you hope to achieve through your participation in ICLEI in Mexico?

That I am proudly representing New Zealand, presenting on a topic that I am absolutely passionate about, is itself a privilege and an achievement. Ontop of that:

  • Share what we (Christchurch City Council) have learnt from the earthquakes and how we are addressing future challenges to identify adaptation opportunities.
  • Open a channel for future exchanges and cooperation between our organisations.
  • Learn how resilience and sustainability are being address on the other side of the pacific, bringing international good practice back to my organisation.

What does your role at Christchurch City Council involve?

I am the water reticulation technical specialist in the Christchurch City Council Asset Management Unit. My official title is “Strategic Asset Engineer”. I work in projects to improve the Three Waters asset management capability within the organisation.

I work collaboratively with other council teams outside of asset management like the resilience team.

I am also a member of the Council Intelligence Civil Defence team and a member of the Council Geospatial Centre for Excellence. I am passion about the concept of collaborative emergency management and geospatial data to inform decision-making.

I am also involved in different research initiatives with the University of Canterbury. As a practitioner, I am so pleased to see the university doing outstanding research that serves the industry. I believe the industry must spend the time to work collaboratively with the University.

How would you describe your experience of winning the Hynds paper Award in 2018?

The Hynds paper Award is a fantastic challenge for IPWEA NZ members to improve their communication skills. As an engineer, I believe it is very important to be able to communicate effectively with technical people but also with non-technical people, especially these days when we need to improve community understanding and acceptance of risk.

Winning the award gives you confidence and a reputation as a speaker, and the experience of presenting at the IPWEA Queensland conference as part of the Award – was fantastic. I would like to recognise Ross Vincent (IPWEA NZ) for his efforts, mentoring and support in my Hynds award journey, He has facilitated the collaboration between IPWEA, CCC and ICLEI Mexico. Thanks Ross, you are a star.

Irmana’s winning paper – How to plan for an earthquake event: Essential data collection approaches for underground infrastructure condition assessment”, can be viewed here.

~ Irmana Garcia Sampedro, Strategic Asset Engineer, Christchurch City Council, Christchurch