Development of LSN-based pipe repair rate models utilising data from the 2011 Christchurch earthquakes




The Canterbury Earthquake Sequence (CES) adversely impacted built, economic and social environments. This included widespread physical damage to the water supply pipe network in Christchurch, resulting in long service disruptions. The transient and permanent ground deformations generated by the earthquakes in the CES caused a range of pipe damage, particularly in the MW 6.2 22 February 2011 and the relatively less damaging MW 6.0 13 June 2011 event. Damage to the pipes in both events was largely attributed to liquefaction and lateral spreading effects. Pipes made of ductile material (e.g. PVC, HDPE) sustained lesser damage (and therefore lower repair rates) compared to the pipes made of non-ductile material (e.g. AC, CI). In all cases, the repair rates (number of repairs per kilometre) typically increased with increasing liquefaction severity.

Utilising the pipe repair dataset and Liquefaction Severity Number (LSN) maps generated from extensive geotechnical investigation following the CES events, new repair rate prediction models for water pipes subjected to liquefaction effects have been derived and are presented in this paper. Repair data from both earthquakes has been analysed independently and in combination, providing two sets of repair rate functions and different levels of uncertainty. Repair rate functions were first derived from pipes grouped by combination of diameter (i.e. ϕ < 75 mm or ϕ ≥ 75 mm) and material type (i.e. ductile or non-ductile). The models were then refined by adding correction factors for those material types and diameters with sufficient sample length. Correction factors were derived for AC, CI, PVC pipes of diameter ≥75 mm and for MDPE and HDPE80 pipes of diameter <75 mm. Galvanised Iron (GI) pipes performed poorly during the earthquakes, resulting in very high repair rates compared to the other non-ductile pipes of diameter <75 mm damaged in the network; this warranted a separate repair rate model to be developed for this pipe type. The proposed models can be used in risk assessment of water pipe networks; i.e. to estimate the number of pipe repairs from potential liquefaction damage from future earthquakes.


Ariman T, Lee B and Chen Q (1987). “Failure of buried pipelines under large ground deformations”. Developments in Geotechnical Engineering, 49: 63-75.

Ayala AG and O’Rourke MJ (1989). “Effects of the 1985 Michoacan Earthquake on Water Systems and other Buried Pipelines in Mexico”. NCEER Technical Report 89-0009, Buffalo, New York, 136 pp.

O’Rourke T, Stewart HE, Blackburn F and Dickerman TS (1991). “Geotechnical and Lifeline Aspects of the October 17, 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake in San Francisco”. NCEER Technical Report 90-0001, Buffalo, New York, 68 pp.

Hamada M, Isoyama R and Wakamatsu K (1996). “Liquefaction-induced ground displacement and its related damage to lifeline facilities”. Soils and Foundations, 36: 81-97.

Maison B, Lee D, Lau B and Eidinger J (1995). “East Bay Municipal Utility District water distribution damage in 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake”. Proceedings of the Fourth US Conference Sponsored by the Technical Council on Lifeline Earthquake Engineering, August 10-12, San Francisco, California. 7 pp.

Eidinger JM (1998). “Water-Distribution System” Page 63-78 in The Loma Prieta, California, Earthquake of October 17, 1989 – Lifelines. Editor: Schiff AJ. US Geological Survey Professional Paper 1552-A, Reston, Virginia.

Bulletin of the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering, 43(4).

Bulletin of the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering, 44(4).

Cubrinovski M, Hughes M, Bradley B, McCahon I, McDonald Y, Simpson H, Cameron R, Christison M, Henderson B, Orense R and O’Rourke T (2011a). “Liquefaction Impacts on Pipe Networks. Short Term Recovery Project No. 6”. University of Canterbury Research Report 2011-04, Christchurch, New Zealand, 74 pp.

O’Rourke TD, Jeon S-S, Toprak S, Cubrinovski M, Hughes M, van Ballegooy S and Bouziou D (2014). “Earthquake response of underground pipeline networks in Christchurch, NZ”. Earthquake Spectra, 30(1): 183-204.

Toprak S, Nacaroglu E, van Ballegooy S, Koc AC, Jacka M, Manav Y, Torvelainen E and O’Rourke TD (2019). “Segmented pipeline damage predictions using liquefaction vulnerability parameters”. Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering, 125: 105758.

van Ballegooy S, Wentz F and Boulanger RW (2015). “Evaluation of CPT-based liquefaction procedures at regional scale”. Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering, 79(B): 315-334.

Porter KA, Scawthorn C, Honegger DG, O’Rourke TD and Blackburn F (1992). “Performance of Water Supply Pipelines in Liquefied Soil”. 16 pp.

Pineda-Porras O and Ordaz M (2010). “Seismic fragility formulations for segmented buried pipeline systems including the impact of differential ground subsidence”. Journal of Pipeline Systems Engineering and Practice, 1(4): 141-146.

Isoyama R, Ishida E, Yune K and Shirozu T (2000). “Seismic damage estimation procedure for water supply pipelines”. Proceedings of the Twelfth World Conference on Earthquake Engineering, January 30-4 February, Auckland, New Zealand. Paper No 1762. 8 pp.

Liu X and O’Rourke MJ (1996). “Key parameters for estimating buried pipe damage”. Proceedings of the Eleventh World Conference on Earthquake Engineering, June 23-28, Acapulco, Mexico. Paper No 1589. 8 pp.

Kuraoka S and Rainer JH (1996). “Damage to water distribution system caused by the 1995 Hyogo-ken Nanbu earthquake”. Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering, 23(3): 665-677.

ALA (2001). “Seismic Fragility Formulations for Water Systems”. American Society of Civil Engineers, Reston, Virginia. 2 vol.;

ALA (2005). “Seismic Guidelines for Water Pipelines”. Federal Emergency Management Agency, Washington DC. 39 pp.

FEMA. “HAZUS 2.1 Technical Manual”. Federal Emergency Management Agency, Washington DC. 718 pp.

Bouziou D and O’Rourke TD (2017). “Response of the Christchurch water distribution system to the 22 February 2011 earthquake”. Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering, 97: 14 24.

Toprak S, Taskin F and Koc AC (2009). “Prediction of earthquake damage to urban water distribution systems: a case study for Denizli, Turkey”. Bulletin of Engineering Geology and Environment, 68: 499.

Robertson PK and Wride CE (1998). “Evaluating cyclic liquefaction potential using the cone penetration test”. Canadian Geotechnical Journal, 35(3): 442–459.

Youd TL, Idriss IM, Andrus RD, Arango I, Castro G, Christian JT, Dobry R, Finn WDL, Harder LF, Jr, Hynes ME, Ishihara K, Koester JP, Liao SSC, Marcuson WF, Martin GR, Mitchell JK, Moriwaki Y, Power MS, Robertson PK, Seed RB and Stokoe KH (2001). “Liquefaction resistance of soils: Summary report from the 1996 NCEER and 1998 NCEER/NSF workshops on evaluation of liquefaction resistance of soils”. Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, 127(10): 817-833.

Boulanger RW and Idriss IM (2014). “CPT and SPT based Liquefaction Triggering Procedures”. University of California, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Center for Geotechnical Modeling Report UCD/CGM-14/01, Davis, California, 134 pp.

Cubrinovski M, Bradley B, Wotherspoon L, De Pascale G and Wells D (2011b). “Geotechnical aspects of the 22 February 2011 Christchurch earthquake”. Bulletin of the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering, 44(4): 205-226.

Iwasaki T, Tatsuoka F, Tokida K and Yasuda S (1978). “A practical method for assessing soil liquefaction potential based on case studies at various sites in Japan”. Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Microzonation, November 26-1 December, San Francisco, California. pp. 885–96.

Tonkin & Taylor (2013). “Liquefaction Vulnerability Study”. Report for the Earthquake Commission, WellingtonNew Zealand, 50 pp.

Lacrosse V, van Ballegooy S and Bradley BA (2015). “Effect of liquefaction triggering uncertainty on liquefaction consequence”. 6th International Conference on Earthquake Geotechnical Engineering, November 1-4, Christchurch, New Zealand, 9 pp.

Cubrinovski M, Hughes M, Bradley B, Noonan J, McNeill S, English G and Sampedro IG (2015). “Horizontal Infrastructure Performance and Application of the Liquefaction Resistance Index Methodology in Christchurch City through the 2010-2011 Canterbury Earthquake Sequence”. University of Canterbury Research Report 2015-5, Christchurch, New Zealand, 49 pp.

Bellagamba X, Bradley BA, Wotherspoon LM and Hughes MW (2019). “Development and validation of fragility functions for buried pipelines based on Canterbury Earthquake sequence data”. Earthquake Spectra, 35(3): 1061 1086.

van Ballegooy S, Wentz F and Boulanger RW (2015a). “Evaluation of CPT-based liquefaction procedures at regional scale”. Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering, 79(B): 315 334.

Tonkin & Taylor (2015a). “Canterbury Earthquake Sequence: Increased Liquefaction Vulnerability Assessment Methodology”. Report for the Earthquake Commission, Wellington, New Zealand, 185 pp.

van Ballegooy S, Green RA, Lees J, Wentz F and Maurer BW (2015b). “Assessment of various CPT based liquefaction severity index frameworks relative to the Ishihara (1985) H1-H2 boundary curves”. Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering, 79(B): 347-364.

van Ballegooy S, Malan P, Lacrosse V, Jacka ME, Cubrinovski M, Bray JD, O’Rourke TD, Crawford SA and Cowan H (2014). “Assessment of liquefaction-induced land damage for residential Christchurch”. Earthquake Spectra, 30(1): 31-55.

Bouziou D, van Ballegooy S, Storie L and O’Rourke TD (2019). “Spatial Correlations of Underground Pipeline Damage in Christchurch: Correlations with Liquefaction-Induced Ground Surface Deformations and CPT-based Liquefaction Vulnerability Index Parameters”. Report for UC Quake Centre, Christchurch, New Zealand. 50 pp.

Sadashiva VK, Nayyerloo M and Sherson AK (2019). “Seismic Performance of Underground Water Pipes during the Canterbury Earthquake Sequence”. GNS Science Consultancy Report 2017/188, Lower Hutt, New Zealand, 64 pp. Prepared for Opus International Consultants Ltd.

Zhang G, Robertson PK and Brachman RWI (2004). “Estimating liquefaction-induced lateral displacements using the standard penetration test or cone penetration test”. ASCE Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, 130: 861–871.

O'Callaghan FW (2014). “Pipeline performance experiences during seismic events in New Zealand over the last 27 years”. Proceedings of the 17th Plastic Pipes Conference, September 22-24, Chicago, Illinois, USA.

Maurer BW, Green RA and Taylor O-DS (2015). “Moving towards an improved index for assessing liquefaction hazard: Lessons from historical data”. Soils and Foundations, 55(4): 778 787.

Bradley BA and Hughes M (2012). “Conditional Peak Ground Accelerations in the Canterbury Earthquakes for Conventional Liquefaction Assessment”. Technical Report for the Department of Building and Housing, Wellington, New Zealand, 22 pp.

Rosser BJ and Dellow GD (2017). “Assessment of Liquefaction Risk in the Hawke’s Bay. Volume 2: Appendices for Volume 1”. GNS Science Consultancy Report 2015/186, Lower Hutt, New Zealand, 64 pp.

Cubrinovski M, Hughes M and O’Rourke TD (2014). “Impacts of liquefaction on the potable water system of Christchurch in the 2010–2011 Canterbury (NZ) earthquakes”. Journal of Water Supply: Research and Technology – Aqua, 63(2): 95 105.




How to Cite

Moratalla, J., & Sadashiva, V. (2022). Development of LSN-based pipe repair rate models utilising data from the 2011 Christchurch earthquakes. Bulletin of the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering, 55(3), 155–166.