10 Nov 2015

WaterSmarts: Infrastructure

Nobody answered the August WaterSmarts Calendar questions on water poverty. It seems that nobody knows (or cares) what happens when people cannot afford to pay for their water :(

(Leave a comment if you've got something to say!)

September's activity on Infrastructure had a few responses.

Identify a major project (treatment plant, network extension, dam, etc.) at your water utility.
  1. Water recycling in Sunnyvale, California
  2. Improved wastewater treatment in Dixon, California
How much will it cost?
  1. $17.5 million (for 147,000 residents)
  2. $28.5 million (for 18,000 residents)
What's your share of that cost?

The answer to this question is tricky because you need to exclude financing coming from non-local governments or business (e.g., $7.3 million is coming from Apple Inc and California for project #1) while more or less assuming that other costs will be borne by local taxpayers or water customers ("the utility" or "the government" passes costs through). Thus:
  1. $70
  2. $1,550
Bottom Line: Infrastructure projects can be expensive, especially when their costs are allocated across a few people. (Wastewater projects are particularly expensive, which is why so many places are discharging "dirty water" that could be cleaned -- it's "too expensive" to clean up after themselves.)

If you want to contribute to these ongoing discussions, then please fill out surveys on
NB: The activity for December will ask "what have you learned?" so start to think about what you've learned about water this year. (If you haven't learned anything, then maybe you're not listening to the people around you?)