How to Provide Reliable Water in a Warming World – These Cities are Testing Small-Scale Treatment Systems and Wastewater Recycling
Posted Dec 18, 2023
A lot can go wrong in a large urban water system. Pumps malfunction. Valves break. Pipes leak. Even when the system is functioning properly, water can sit in pipes for long periods of time. Water shortages are also a growing problem in a warming world, as communities across the Southwestern U.S. and in many developing nations are discovering.
That’s why cities have started experimenting with small-scale alternatives – including wastewater recycling and localized water treatment strategies known as decentralized or distributed systems.
Iowa State University assistant professor of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering Lu Liu studies large- and small-scale water systems, focusing on innovative system designs that allow local use of water sources that might otherwise go to waste. As technology improves, cities are discovering something that rural communities have long known: Small-scale water treatment, properly engineered, can be cheaper and easier to maintain than a centralized system, and it can improve water security and even the environment.
Read Liu’s full article in The Conversation here.