Nature's Log - Supplemental: Stardate 08.19.18.1

By Jimi Hardee

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As a follow up to our recent blog post about the problems facing water infrastructure, we have compiled this list of real world examples of failing water infrastructure at home and abroad. We wanted to share not only the widespread nature of the problem, but highlight current and potentially future successes.

Martin County Kentucky has been experiencing inconsistency of running water in recent years. Leaky pipes have become normal here, but there isn’t a budget to fix them, which causes inconsistent water flow. Earlier in 2018, many residents were without running water for 5 days!

https://www.kentucky.com/news/state/article194459549.html

https://www.wptv.com/newsy/some-us-communities-are-forced-to-live-with-poor-water-infrastructure

 

There may not be a budget for new infrastructure in Martin County, but if a municipality is trying to update their water infrastructure or adjust to climate change, the common response is to pass on higher fees to those that use the water.

This is not an isolated problem. In fact the rise in the price of water utilities has lead to an estimate that a staggering 1/3 of US households may find themselves unable to afford their water bills by 2020.

https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2017/5/9/15183330/america-water-crisis-affordability-millions

 

Meanwhile, in India, economic growth is leading to a huge rise in the demand for water in municipal and industrial settings. This is leading to an opportunity for innovation from the private sector to find solutions to high water demand in a region where water scarcity is a widespread issue and current infrastructure is hindered by inadequate technology and pollution.

https://ww2.frost.com/frost-perspectives/challenges-and-opportunities-indian-water-market/

 

Scarcity doesn’t only affect cities in the developing world however, global centers of trade and commerce like Tokyo, Beijing, Cairo, London, and Mexico City are also facing major water shortages in the coming years.

http://www.euronews.com/2018/02/11/8-major-cities-running-out-of-water-cape-town

 

Even American metropolitan centers like New York City are affected by failing, outdated water infrastructure.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/new-york-eyeing-potential-40b-water-infrastructure-crisis-article-1.2971410

 

Still, while urban areas around the world are suffering from water scarcity, (like Singapore)  some cities are making real efforts to combat the scarcity by enacting innovative initiatives. Singapore is also looking to nature for innovation by developing natural desalination techniques and other bio-inspired solutions.

https://www.wateronline.com/doc/looking-to-singapore-for-water-scarcity-solutions-0001

https://www.greenbiz.com/blog/2014/09/03/desalination-how-nature-can-guide-us-water-fit-drink

 

Bioinspired approaches like constructed wetlands are also showing great promise in address the issue of water scarcity in the developing world.

http://www.scienceinafrica.com/biotechnology/industrial/constructed-wetlands-wastewater-treatment-tanzania

 

Ultimately, water scarcity and poor infrastructure is a global issue. Everyone in the world is affected. However, necessity is the mother of invention; These challenges in water infrastructure present an opportunity for new businesses and organizations to find innovative solutions and build a more sustainable relationship between water and society for generations to come.

bob lawblaw