Risk Assessment Embedded with Cumulative Prospect Theory for Terrorist Attacks on Aquifer of Karstic Limestone and Water Supply System




Doro-on, Anna Maricel

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On September 11, 2001 terrorists unleashed an unforeseen series of terror attacks against United States, which created a significant turning point in the American politics and society were crucial concerns focused on the effectiveness of safeguard measures protecting critical infrastructure. Protection of water infrastructure is one of the primary concerns for governing agencies, environmental stakeholders, and the general populous worldwide. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Homeland Security Act of 2002 and Homeland Security Presidential Directive 7 (HSDP-7) designated water supply as one of the critical infrastructures vital to the security of the United States. Groundwater resources and urban water supply system destruction using chemical threats, which are tremendously difficult to remove such as Cyanide (CN) and Arsenic (As) by terrorists, can likely create catastrophic health effects, mass casualties, create chaos on regional or national security, may cause irreversible damage to water resources, disrupt the downstream industry infrastructure and cause economic destruction comparable to those from the use of a weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Based upon the review of literature, there is lack of adequate protection against acts of terrorism on water supplies and scarce technology for protection against chemical threats. Such protective measures are urgently needed so that engineers, scientists, managers and experts will incorporate risk assessment in policy-making that provides tools for groundwater resources and urban water supply system protection, while providing a flexible vehicle for incorporating public input. This dissertation illustrates a risk assessment methodology based on cumulative prospect theory systematically analyze alternative recharge zone protection approaches and respective probabilistic impact on groundwater resources, as motivated by recent development over the recharge zone of a sole source aquifer for one of the largest metropolitan areas in the US. Logical relationships, characterized using event tree analysis, accurately described pathways leading from the initial policy decision to final consequences. Comparison of these risk probabilities with limits based on revealed preference concept and cumulative prospect theory, affords decision-makers the ability to screen alternatives for acceptability. Most terror risk, involving US infrastructure, is immediately determined unacceptable by society. However, in this study, it is found that when appropriate threat deterrent technologies are employed, risk acceptability can be achieved.


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Critical Infrastructure Terrorism, Cumulative Prospect Theory, Risk Assessment, Terrorism, Terrorist attacks, Water Supply Terrorism



Civil and Environmental Engineering