The Pros And Cons Of Water Management

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However, due to changing circumstances the centralized approach is no longer the optimal solution in many places – and in many developing countries was never the optimal solution. More extreme weather conditions associated with climate change have highlighted the limitations of centralized systems, particularly with respect to urban flooding and combined wastewater sewer overflows [7]. As well, missed opportunities and competing objectives arise when there is a high degree of specialist segregation, for example, water conservation can impact solids removals from wastewater conveyance or utilizing stormwater as a non-potable water source to offset potable demands, etc. [7]. Centralized systems are very expensive to install and maintain, particularly…show more content…
Decentralized systems are common in rural areas, and in urban areas are scattered throughout a city complementing or offsetting elements of a centralized system. For example, rainwater harvesting for non-potable domestic uses in homes and commercial buildings throughout the city help reduce the loading on the water supply, stormwater, and wastewater systems. Satellite wastewater treatment facilities can address servicing to new subdivisions or business parks and provide a local source of recycled water for a range of designated uses [1]. These arrangements result in more citizen engagement with water management as they play a more active role in utilizing different water sources for different uses and maintaining individual systems. Overall less energy is required to treat and move water around the urban area since water of lower qualities and potentially nutrients are re-used locally, since source separation is more feasible at this scale [2]. There is more flexibility in supplying successive population growth, versus attempting to meet all urban expansion with the same centralized sources [2] [4]. This results in higher system…show more content…
This has resulted in the Integrated Urban System (IUS) which has one large surface water treatment plant and over 80 ground water wells and treatment facilities supplying into the distribution network throughout the Region. While these sources are spatially distributed they are managed centrally by the Region of Waterloo, and smaller scale distribution system is managed by the individual cities. Similarly, there are five wastewater treatment plants owned by the Region which have service areas roughly aligning with the original town borders, with collection networks managed by the cities. The cities are in the process of developing new utilities to manage stormwater infrastructure and management, and there is a watershed body, the Grand River Conservation Authority also contributes to river and flood management. Decentralized water systems such as greywater and rainwater harvesting are promoted by the Region water efficiency division, under the purview of drinking water conservation, but are only currently implemented on a small scale. Satellite facilities within the urban area would likely be initiated from a wastewater capacity perspective, and have been discussed as part of long-term master planning processes, but not implemented to date [10]. There are overlapping areas of jurisdiction of different entities managing water, but in general centralized management approaches are employed.

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