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Water, Water, but Not Everywhere

Whether that comes to pass or not, water is one of the most important issues facing civilization today.


Many people believe that the next great war will be fought, not over oil or land, but over water.

Whether that comes to pass or not, water is one of the most important issues facing civilization today. As cities grow and land gets developed, the strain on the water supply, and the need for wastewater treatment, increases. It’s a topic that city planners and engineers have wrestled with for years.

And it’s something that architects and developers should educate themselves about, too. The laws, infrastructure requirements, and financing associated with water and wastewater can be challenging, and are constantly evolving.

To help you with these issues, contributing editor Geroge Vorsheim will be sharing his expertise in future issues. We spoke with him to get a preview of the topics he’ll be addressing.

Water Attracts People, and Development

“In 1783, George Washington (went to) Saratoga County New York High Rock Spring with governor Clinton of New York and Alexander Hamilton. And they enjoyed the Springwater there quite a bit. George Washington made a bid to buy Saratoga Springs back then. People still come to this area for commercial purposes because of the abundant waters… People migrate to certain places, whether it’s an oasis in the desert or the sea shore for recreation. Water is a major attractor in this world.”

Wastewater Treatment is Critical to Development

“This is not just a big city issue. I’m thinking of a community called Southside, Arkansas, and they were dealing with failing septic tanks for many years. That really contracted possibility of commercial development. When they converted from septic to sewer, that enabled economic growth for the town of Southside. And we’re seeing that replicated around the world.”

Architects Need to Know About Water

“We’re seeing more architects now, whether they’re landscape architects or commercial architects, that have to figure out how to put a building and how to get the density that’s required by the developer. If you don’t have the correct water infrastructure to serve that density, then you’re going to be wasting lots. We’re seeing projects where if they have the right water infrastructure, they can include three or four more, lots or parcels that would not have been able to be otherwise because they couldn’t be sewered. So that becomes a massive economic driver for decision making.”

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