ChEnected interviewed Gwendolyn Woods, a graduate student and research assistant studying environmental engineering at the University of Arizona, at the Second International Congress on Sustainability Science and Engineering (ICOSSE). Gwendolyn and her research team chose to explore water sustainability in the Southwest. More precisely, they looked at how the management of regional water and wastewater can be improved by focusing on facility infrastructure. Watch the interview in the video located in the panel on the right.
In much of the semiarid Southwest, water sustainability is assured only when reclaimed wastewater is included within the regional portfolio of water resources. In such cases, integrated planning of water and wastewater infrastructure can lead to economic efficiency and increased system sustainability. For example, integrated planning can address the degree to which new wastewater treatment facilities should be spatially dispersed, particularly in rapidly growing urban areas, in order to reduce conveyance and associated energy costs for the collection of wastewater and redistribution of reclaimed water. As the competition for limited water supplies increases, so do the complexity and uncertainty of water supply and wastewater availability.