The municipality of Setúbal is located within the Lisbon Metropolitan Area in the sub-region of the Setúbal Peninsula, Portugal, encompassing an area of 230 km². It is inhabited by a resident population of 123,496 individuals and exhibits a heterogeneous land use pattern, characterized by the existence of the city of Setúbal and several other smaller urban centers. The area is known for its riverbank and coastal areas, which are home to one of the main ports in the nation. Due to the Sado estuary, the municipality’s western and urban areas are comparatively flat, while the eastern region is home to a mountain range and hills. The municipality includes two significant protected areas: the Sado Estuary Natural Reserve and Arrábida Natural Park.

Setúbal is a major economic center for Portugal and the Lisbon Metropolitan Area as the coastline of the municipality is home to a multitude of infrastructures and facilities, most of which are related to port areas, industry, and commercial fishing activities, but also services and tourism. Its industrial area has about a hundred companies, including internationally recognized entities, some of which adhere to the Seveso Directive guidelines. It hosts, namely, pulp and paper mills, biomass energy production, a large shipyard, Chemical and fertilizer facilities, a landfill of industrial waste as well as a hazardous waste treatment plant. Besides this area, there are other industrial areas and activities spread throughout the municipality; namely one cement production unit. It is noteworthy to underline that the municipality is crossed by a diversity of high and medium tension electricity lines, as well as gas and oil pipelines.

Given its diverse landscape and socio-economic characteristics, the region is susceptible to a wide range of natural, mixed, and technological hazards, including earthquakes, tsunamis, forest fires, flash floods, landslides, cliff instability, soil and aquifer contamination, road accidents and industrial accidents, all of which could significantly impact society, potentially triggering cascading effects. Some identified challenges include logistical issues in the industrial zone, supply chain bottlenecks and limited access to essential services for the local population during disasters.

Notably, several instances of both heavy precipitation and lack of precipitation were registered in the past years, resulting in flash floods, slope instability and droughts. Rapid riverine flooding stands out as the primary climatic hazard, accounting for over 93% of exposed accommodations and population in Setúbal. Slope instability ranks second among current climatic hazards, followed by forest fires. Altogether, there are 86.7 km of road sections at risk in the municipality of Setúbal.  In fact, between 2000 and 2020, interruption of roads was the most common consequence of heavy precipitation, either from floods or from slope instability, followed by damage to structures and infrastructure. In the strategic sector of the economy, flash floods have generated negative impacts for industrial and commercial activities because of episodes of intense and short-term precipitation. In terms of transport and communications, the central area of the city of Setúbal stands out for presenting a risk of rapid flooding, with a high impact on the existing road network, while the railway is threatened by floods in the Sado riverbanks area. The occurrence of heavy rains coinciding with episodes of rising sea levels and strong maritime agitation have led to the rapid overload of the capacity of drainage systems, causing urban flooding.

In sum, given its heterogeneous land use, complexity, interdependencies and susceptibility to diverse risks, Setubal is of big interest in the study of climate-aware resilience for sustainable critical Infrastructure Systems. ReCharged seeks to explore the intricate connections among the region’s transport networks and energy infrastructure within the framework of iTESLA with the goal of deepening comprehension of climate-related risks and facilitate informed decision-making to bolster resilience.


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