June 7, 2013
Water, Development, and Life As We Know It
In modern life, you often hear people talk about wanting to retain or recapture a certain slower way of life, a time when things in retrospect seemed easier, less complicated. As an environmentalist, I see areas of progress, like the clean water and air acts, but I also see the ways in which we are forgetting the basic interconnections between our actions and way of life and the air, water, and soil that we depend upon to provide basic “services” to keep us healthy and alive.  People may want that rural feel to their community, but often fail to realize what it takes to build small pockets of houses here and there.  With each of these communities comes the need to provide wastewater services, to provide roads, traffic lights, and other infrastructure that most people take for granted. If communities are being hooked up to small, balkanized wastewater treatment plants rather than to a centralized sewer system, the list of things that can go wrong increases.  Development without proper planning, integration of water, wastewater and other infrastructure needs, and attention paid to the future look, feel, and population of a region, becomes the next decade’s headaches and sometimes worse.