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🗣️ "Water Pipes & Protecting Water"

What About Water?

Photo by Bluepikachu / Unsplash

Host: Jay Famiglietti
Guest: Newsha Ajami | Chief Strategy & Development Officer for Research | Berkeley
Category: 🗣️ Opinion | Water Infrastructure

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[0:32] JF: “Every day in America, around 6 billion gallons of clean, safe drinking water disappears. That water vanishes when water mains break and pipes leak. That's 9,000 Olympic sized swimming pools every day. “

[1:58] NA: “The infrastructure we have [was] built […] in the 20th century and with all the understanding that we had at the time and also the climate of that time. And as you're facing new challenges our infrastructure is not apt to deal with these new challenges. I always say we have 20th century infrastructure, 21st century problems, and they don't perfectly match.

[3:10] NA: “In the East Coast, we still have wooden pipes that are […] part of the system. […] And often utilities in order to keep their price of water down they defer maintenance for a long time. […] Eventually it will fall apart.”

[4:33] NA: “The 20th century mindset of infrastructure was it's everything that you build with steel and concrete. And now [we] are realizing that actually infrastructure is a broader thing. We have to maintain our forest as the natural infrastructure, […] we have to not put asphalt and concrete everywhere in our cities because we want to make sure water has a place to go and does end up causing flooding.”

[5:33] NA: “We never set up this system with a lot of monitoring to […] track […] where we are losing water, where we have little cracks that eventually would turn into breaks. There are new technologies now that utilities can use to figure out what's going on underground. But honestly, often, it's so expensive and burdensome to know exactly how these systems operate, that it's costly.”

[12:45] NA: “The Western US […] does not have enough water to maintain the lifestyle we want to keep. We can all survive here, if we change our lifestyle and think about it differently, if we really understand this is a dry region and requires a different kind of water consumption. […] It's not just for us as individuals, at the government level, we are now also thinking about water as an important element to focus on. For example, if you're doing all this energy transition, but you're not thinking what's the water footprint of that energy transition? Do we really have enough resources to maintain something like that? […] We have to give water the value it needs.”

[14:23] NA: “The city of San Francisco […] started requiring buildings that are bigger than […] 100,000 square foot […] to put in on-site reuse systems, which means that they can take the water from their tap and their showers and then reuse it for flushing down toilets or watering outdoor spaces.“

[15:22] NA: “We are building future cities today. […] If we don't change the way we do this right now, if we don't repurpose our pipes, rethink the way we do plumbing, we are actually impacting our future in a serious way. So it would be great to see a lot more people embracing recycling at different scales. […] We are doing a lot of groundwater recharge projects across the state, which would maintain our groundwater systems. And replacing pipes is definitely important, so a lot of utilities are actually trying to tap into the infrastructure and money to be able to replace their degrading pipes. And I think one thing […] that is very important, [is] leak prevention.”

[16:52] NA: “In Denmark, people are using between 22 and 28 gallons per person per day, which is very low. The lowest we have right now in the US is San Francisco, which is about 40 gallons per person per day.”

Rating: 💧💧💧💧

🎙️ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify | Google
🕰️ 30 min | 🗓️ 03/16/2022
✅ Time saved: 28 min

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