DISASTER RESILIENCE Scenarios:
Choices for
the Future

The following scenarios were created by the Disaster Resilience Action Team to represent possible outcomes for Utah’s disaster resilience in 2050. The scenarios differed in how many unreinforced brick buildings are retrofitted, when/if Utah implements stronger building codes for new buildings, the extent to which infrastructure is upgraded, and how much development takes place in hazardous areas. The scenarios were presented to the public as part of the Your Utah, Your Future Survey in the spring of 2015.

The scenarios were titled Allosaurus, Bonneville Trout, Seagull, Quaking Aspen, and Sego Lily (the state fossil, fish, bird, tree, and flower):

ALLOSAURUS AND BONNEVILLE TROUT SCENARIO

disaster scenario allosaurs bonneville

By 2050, Utah’s ability to withstand and recover from natural disasters is generally not improved. We do not spend additional money or require any extra work from builders, the state, or the public. Recovery time after a disaster is very long, Utah’s economy is badly damaged, and large numbers of Utahns leave the state and never return.

We are not more resilient to earthquakes because:

  • Weak buildings with unreinforced brick are not reinforced.
  • Building codes are not strengthened to make new buildings more likely to be habitable.
  • Schools, hospitals, and nursing homes are retrofitted very slowly.
  • We continue to build in earthquake hazard areas.
  • Roads, water, sewer, power, and gas lines are upgraded only when replaced.

We are also not more resilient to flooding and wildfire because:

  • Stormwater systems are not upgraded to accommodate larger storms.
  • A large amount of scattered growth occurs on the fringe of urban areas, where homes are more vulnerable to wildfire.
  • Homes on the urban fringe are not designed to be fire resistant.

SEAGULL SCENARIO

disaster scenario seagull

By 2050, Utah’s ability to withstand and recover from natural disasters is somewhat improved. We upgrade one-third of structurally weak homes and construct one-third of new buildings so they are more likely to be habitable after a major earthquake. These changes require some additional money and some extra work from builders, the state, and the public. Recovery time after a disaster is long, Utah’s economy is quite badly damaged, and large numbers of Utahns leave the state and never return.

We are somewhat more resilient to earthquakes because:

  • One third of weak buildings with unreinforced brick are reinforced.
  • Building codes are strengthened to make new buildings more likely to be habitable.
  • Only one third of new buildings meet these new codes, which are not implemented until 2038.
  • Schools, hospitals, and nursing homes are retrofitted slowly.
  • Communities continue to grow in earthquake hazard areas, though some disaster-prone areas are avoided.
  • Roads, water, sewer, power, and gas lines are upgraded to be somewhat more resilient.

We are also somewhat more resilient to flooding and wildfire because:

  • Stormwater systems are somewhat improved to accommodate larger storms.
  • A large amount of scattered growth occurs on the fringe of urban areas, where homes are more vulnerable to wildfire.
  • Only some homes on the urban fringe are designed to be fire resistant.

QUAKING ASPEN SCENARIO

disaster scenario quaking

By 2050, Utah’s ability to withstand and recover from natural disasters is substantially improved. We upgrade almost all structurally weak homes and construct all new buildings so they are more likely to be habitable after a major earthquake. These changes require substantially more investment and significant work by builders, the state, and the public. Recovery time after a disaster is relatively quick, Utah’s economy is not badly damaged, and only a small number of Utahns leave the state and never return.

We are significantly more resilient to earthquakes because:

  • Almost all weak buildings with unreinforced brick are reinforced.
  • Building codes are strengthened to make new buildings more likely to be habitable.
  • Almost all new buildings meet these new codes, which are implemented as soon as possible.
  • Schools, hospitals, and nursing homes are retrofitted quickly.
  • Schools, hospitals, and nursing homes are retrofitted quickly.
  • Roads, water, sewer, power, and gas lines are upgraded to be much more resilient.

We are also significantly more resilient to flooding and wildfire because:

  • Stormwater systems are substantially improved to accommodate larger storms.
  • Only a small amount of scattered growth occurs on the fringe of urban areas, where homes are more vulnerable to wildfire.
  • Most homes on the urban fringe are designed to be fire resistant.

SEGO LILY SCENARIO

disaster scenario sego

By 2050, Utah’s ability to withstand and recover from natural disasters is moderately improved. We upgrade two-thirds of structurally weak homes and construct two-thirds of new buildings so they are more likely to be habitable after a major earthquake. These changes require a moderate amount of additional money and some extra work from builders, the state, and the public. Recovery time after a disaster is somewhat long, Utah’s economy is damaged, and some Utahns leave the state and never return.

We are moderately more resilient to earthquakes because:

  • Two-thirds of weak buildings with unreinforced brick are reinforced.
  • Building codes are strengthened to make new buildings more likely to be habitable.
  • Two-thirds of new buildings meet these new codes, which are implemented in 2024.
  • Schools, hospitals, and nursing homes are retrofitted faster.
  • Some communities continue to grow in earthquake hazard areas, but some disaster-prone areas are avoided.
  • Roads, water, sewer, power, and gas lines are upgraded to be moderately more resilient.

We are also moderately more resilient to flooding and wildfire because:

  • Stormwater systems are improved to accommodate larger storms.
  • Only some scattered growth occurs on the fringe of urban areas, where it is vulnerable to wildfire.
  • A moderate number of homes on the urban fringe are designed to be fire resistant.