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Sustainable water infrastructure of the future - the contest of ideas and ideals in sustainability

Ho, G.ORCID: 0000-0001-9190-8812 (2010) Sustainable water infrastructure of the future - the contest of ideas and ideals in sustainability. In: Hao, X., Novotny, V. and Nelson, V., (eds.) Water Infrastructure for Sustainable Communities: China and the World. IWA Publishing, London, pp. 23-34.

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Sustainability can be considered as a process of balancing the need for economic development, environmental protection and social justice. Viewed in this way sustainability is a journey because the needs and wishes of society evolve over time. This sustainability journey for water infrastructure is briefly reviewed beginning with provision for piped drinking water, sewerage for removing human wastes and stormwater management infrastructure to protect against flooding. Development of infrastructure for these, while creating societal and economic benefits, has impacted considerably on environmental flow of rivers and water quality of rivers receiving wastewater and stormwater discharges. While efforts have been made to mitigate these environmental Impacts, there have been many ideas, often conflicting, about what sustainability is and how it can be achieved. There has been even less on the end or ideals of the sustainability journey. Three ideals are put forward in the paper, covering the ideal of self-sufficiency, mimicking nature and source separation of wastewater. The first aims to have development relying solely on rainfall within land development/village or urban boundaries The second raises the Ideal further to bring the water cycle within the boundaries towards the natural undeveloped land, while the third follows the natural discharge of urine and faeces separately and onto land for land based development .

Item Type: Book Chapter
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Environmental Science
Publisher: IWA Publishing
Copyright: © 2010 IWA Publishing
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