What do you do when your major metropolitan areas also happen to sit along a “drought belt?” According to the US Drought Monitor Map, released last week by South Dakota State University, many American cities—including Atlanta, Dallas, Phoenix, and Oklahoma City—are situated smack dab in the middle of severe-to-extreme drought conditions, and they aren’t alone. A second map, this one from the World Resource Institute, shows many of the largest cities in the developed (and some in the developing world as well) are in the crosshairs of extreme water scarcity. And if climate change models hold true, these urban centers and megacities can expect conditions to only get worse.
So what to do? In a blog for Switchboard (the National Resources Defense Council Staff Blog), Kaid Benfield discusses the issue of urban growth, smart cities, and water scarcity in an entry titled, “Reconciling cities with water scarcity.” Benfield believes that the first step is to help our cities expand intelligently, with an eye on efficiency and sustainable water use. For cities, this means implementing both increased housing density—EPA research shows that building 1,000 new homes at 8 units per acre instead of 4 can “save as much as 27 million cubic feet of runoff per year”—and insuring that new (and existing) residential and commercial properties come equipped with built-in water efficient technologies.
So what do you think? Are our current metropolitan areas doomed due to logistics and climate change? Could simple solutions—like rainwater catchment and low-flow fixtures—make a difference? Is it time to rethink urban and industrial development in order to take into account drought patterns and regional water scarcity issues?
Upcoming Forester University Webinars
January 26th, 2012
5 Steps to Creating a Successful Public Outreach Campaign
Change starts with people. Whether your focus is stormwater pollution, energy conservation, pavement restoration, or recycling, a successful public outreach campaign resonates with your target audience and leads to long-lasting behavior change. Join Erica Hooper of SGA to explore a proven 5-step approach to crafting a successful outreach campaign based on real-world examples of the good, the bad, and the ugly. Read more…
February 2nd, 2012
Advanced Stormwater Treatment: Dissolved Pollutants
How effective are your stormwater treatments in capturing dissolved loads? With an average of 45% of the phosphorus load and up to 50% of the metal load transported through treatment practices to receiving waters in dissolved form, advanced treatment is imperative. Join Andrew Erickson to explore cost-effective, field-tested methods to capture stormwater dissolved pollutants and optimize stormwater treatment performance. We’ll explore several field applications and data demonstrating significant improvements in dissolved pollutant fraction capture. Read More...