Built Infrastructure is Essential

Built water infrastructure supported the evolution of all human societies and will remain an integral part of socioeconomic development and modernization. Some postindustrial societies not only seek to “preserve” existing aquatic ecosystems in their otherwise transformed landscapes but also insist that others do the same. They suggest that “green infrastructure” can provide “equivalent or similar benefits to conventional (built) ‘gray’ water infrastructure” (1). Fast developing countries have a different perspective. For them, built infrastructure underpins “water security”: enough water of adequate quality, reliably available to meet health, livelihoods, ecosystems, and production needs, as well as protection from water’s destructive extremes (2). Their challenge is to enable an expanding global population, seeking a better quality of life, to determine the nature of their new environment, not simply to preserve the old.

By Mike Muller, Asit K. Biswas, Roberto Martin-Hurtado and Cecilia Tortajada, 2015. Article published in Science, Volume 349, Issue 6248, pages 585-586. DOI: 10.1126/science.aac7606

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