The Story of Empowering Our Future
About the Project
Without clean, abundant water, everything dies. This is true for human beings, natural ecosystems, industries, and, even societies. Nearly everywhere we look, our natural and built water systems are threatened by crumbling infrastructure, floods, drought, storms, wildfires, sea level rise, cyber-security breaches, pollution or a combination of the above. Marginalized communities inevitably feel the worst impacts from these existential threats, and our response is hampered by fragmented and antiquated governance and management practices.
Critical water sector infrastructure systems face a multitude of hazards that must be identified, assessed, communicated, and managed appropriately. Recent floods, droughts, fires, tsunamis, tornadoes, earthquakes, and aging infrastructure remind us that natural, technological, and human-caused hazards take a high toll on communities. Costs in lives, livelihoods, and quality of life can be reduced by better managing risks through multidisciplinary concepts, processes, technologies and models.
“Living Water” is a public media and outreach initiative that seeks to inform the nation about the critical role that our water sector infrastructure system plays in protecting public health, and promoting economic prosperity and sustaining our quality of life. Combining a ninety-minute documentary with a community toolkit for facilitating local involvement, “Living Water” will explore the societal, engineering, environmental, policy, and political and economic challenges of our water sector, and engages communities in local discussion about natural, engineered, and social water issues for sustainability, resiliency, equity, social justice, and public health.
WATER SYSTEM-OF-SYSTEMS – Water Cycle at River-Basin Scale
Essential to all life on earth, water is the provenance of civilization. Throughout history, thriving communities have relied on a water infrastructure (both natural and built). American water infrastructure, however, has not kept up with the changes in society. This section will illuminate the integral role of water systems in our lives, offering a brief history of water sector practices, in addition to accounts of the burdens placed on, and the neglect of, our current system.
CURRENT STATUS – Clean, Drinking, Waste, and Storm Water
Simply considering the complexity of constructing a system serving a city the size of Philadelphia or Atlanta is daunting, but the task of restoring a broken system is even more so. With the help of 3-D imaging and dynamic animation, this section will visually expose America’s infrastructure and explore, with engineers, the technical complexity of our national infrastructure and water management.
WATER CRISIS – Climate Change, Aging Systems & Social Justice
Critical water infrastructure systems face a multitude of hazards that must be identified, assessed, communicated, and managed appropriately. Recent floods, droughts, fires, tsunamis, tornadoes, earthquakes, and aging infrastructure remind us that natural, technological, and human-caused hazards take a high toll on communities. In these challenging times, water sector utilities must focus on maximizing value and leveraging their investment wherever possible. Asset management, engineering research, restoration and replacement technologies—these concepts, along with the best practices from around the country, will be explored, revealing a portrait of next generation technology and solutions.
SUSTAINABILITY & RESILIENCY – Best practices across the country
Hundreds of billions of dollars are required to restore America’s water infrastructure systems. This section will track how cities and regions are confronting integrated water system rehabilitation, both economically and politically for sustainability and resiliency of the community.
SMART ONE WATER GOVERNANCE & MANAGEMENT – The Future
To understand the risks of neglecting our buried assets, we need to understand our role in watersheds and hydrologic/geologic cycles. This section will follow the natural cycle of our water supply and address the health and environmental hazards that our cities face when industrial and residential districts unsustainably interface with the water cycle.