Municipal water systems are organized around three major water uses: drinking water, wastewater, and storm water systems. All three systems share a common infrastructure based on watershed geography. Indeed, a watershed management approach has emerged as best practice across the country. Other key elements in municipal water systems include sources (groundwater vs. surface water), and treatment processes.
- Drinking (Potable) Water
- Storm Water
- Watersheds geography
- Water sources - Ground water and surface water
- Water Treatment Processes – physical, biological, and chemical.
- Distribution & Collection Infrastructure
- Use of drinking water for non-potable uses
- Growing demands on natural water sources
- Increasing pollution of water sources
- Impacts of Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) systems
- Effects of pervious ground cover
- Aging infrastructure
- Water’s role in energy production
- Chemical treatments
- Develop a comprehensive plan that integrates water use and watershed management
- Create cross-jurisdictional partnerships as needed
- Link land use and water management plans
- Promote innovation, efficiency, and conservation in water use
- Define and prioritize water problems by entire watersheds (including sub-watersheds, and drainage basins).
- Coordinate strategies, programs and initiatives with other agencies and jurisdictions affected by shared watersheds.
- Track performance through shared systems for data collection and monitoring.
- Leverage resources among partner agencies and jurisdictions to avoid redundancies and realize cost savings.
Local governments in the United States are also experiencing the effects of the emerging global water crisis.
- Increasing population size is putting a strain on already-taxed water supplies.
- Electric bills are rising as water supply dwindles and increases in value.
- Jurisdictions are fighting over the rights to shared water sources.
- Expansion of water treatment facilities and distribution pipes is causing a rise in capital construction costs and operation and maintenance budgets.
Seventy percent of our planet is made up of water from oceans and glaciers. Of that amount, only two percent is suitable for human use. Scientists until recently agreed that was more than enough to support human life. However, water is a finite resource. Our current consumption is rapidly outpacing the planet's supply and renewal rates (Figure 1).