Water System Infrastructure

WATER SYSTEM INFRASTRUCTURE – A VIEW OF WHERE WE ARE, WHERE WE COULD GO AND HOW WE CAN GET THERE.

This is the first of several essays that are aimed at focusing attention on water and sewer infrastructure systems. In this essay, the current state of city and regional systems are examined; the current state of the industry will be examined next, investigating some of the tools, resources and technologies that are available, today. Beyond that, the final essay in this series will look at the needs emerging from the developing world as well as the shifting demands that will drive decisions affecting the upkeep and expansion of existing water infrastructure.

When those of us who live in developed nations turn on the tap or flush the toilet, most of us are not thinking of what it takes to deliver us that glass of clean water or treat our sewage. The infrastructure that is in place for pumping, purifying, transport and waste treatment is what allows those mundane, daily activities to occur without a second thought. These water and sewer networks are a patchwork-quilt of local and regional systems that have been pieced together in order to meet the needs of the populations that they support. In some cases, components have been in place for hundreds of years; this is especially true in the case of networks that serve large urban centers. In fact, fully 1/3 of London’s water pipes are over 150 years old , and while there may be some truth to the adage ‘they don’t build them like they used to’, the stark reality is that water and sewer systems do deteriorate over long periods of time and constant use…More