Vulnerable infrastructure undermines a society’s ability to cope, recover, and rebuild after a natural disaster, extreme drought, or bacterial contamination. In 2015, Bechtel teamed up with several organizations to help safeguard society against natural hazards.
“Extreme weather and natural disasters can have lasting impacts on vulnerable communities. Through our volunteer projects, we learn how building for resiliency and longevity can be applied on Bechtel’s bigger projects to help communities plan for the future and improve sustainability.”Sara Schmieg Senior environmental engineer, Bechtel
Many areas in Central America face extreme weather—hurricanes, floods, and droughts—that affect water quality and safety. With help from Bechtel, Engineers Without Borders (EWB), and local partners, nearly 600 villagers in El Sauce, in remote northwest Honduras, will have access to clean water. In 2015, our team designed and upgraded the community’s storage, treatment, and distribution system. Once we’ve completed the improvements, we will train residents to use and maintain the system to ensure it delivers benefits for years to come.
EWB and Bechtel are also working with leaders of the Mikomago community, in Uganda, to provide safe, clean water to more than 1,700 people. Young children walk long distances over steep terrain to collect bacteria-contaminated water from open pits and shallow wells. Volunteers working with the Mikomago Water Committee, and the Mwangwe Rural Development Association are assessing current and future water needs. Together we will develop, design, and build a sustainable water system, which includes a protected deep well and submersible pump.
Connecting people and ideas
In 2015, Bechtel was a key contributor to programs that helped offer solutions to global sustainability issues. For example, through the Global Sustainability Speaker Series with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a leading policy think tank in Washington, D.C., Bechtel collaborated with industry experts to discuss ways to redesign energy and infrastructure systems for resiliency. Discussions included:
- Hardening energy infrastructure
- Backing up power delivery systems
- Creating greater energy diversification, such as oil, gas, nuclear, renewable
Expert panelists explored calibrating energy supply and demand through smarter technologies, such as predictive tools and advanced metering. We also looked for ways to update policies and programs around conservation and climate adaptation.
Bechtel joined re:focus partners to address the growing challenges of climate impact on urban planning and development. We contributed A Roadmap for Resilience to help cities retool the process for early design, planning, and financing for smarter, greener, more durable infrastructure projects. One of the practical insights from the report is to develop dual-use infrastructure, such as building public car garages to also manage stormwater during major weather events.
With Devex, a global media organization for the international development community, we launched “Focus on: Resilient Infrastructure,” which connects and informs its more than 700,000 sustainable development professionals around the world on ways to improve infrastructure resiliency against climate impacts and extreme weather events.
We also launched our Build100 program to connect our customers and colleagues with the broader sustainability community. Bechtel and industry experts share their insights, innovations, and projects that will have an impact on the next 100 years.