The concept of safe failure recognizes that no system is ever perfect or “fail safe”. It also recognizes that climate change is very hard to predict, and the severity of weather can quickly increase and overwhelm systems. We show a waterway here overwhelmed by water pressure. The waterway has been designed to break on the side that is facing agriculture—away from residences and industry where the loss of assets can be devastating, and where flash flooding can be devastating to the population. In this illustration, the waterway has been designed to fail safely.
ISET (Institute for Social and Environmental Transition) Climate Resilience Framework | Systems – Safe Failure | drawing by Jamie Stroud.