Examining Water Infrastructure
Several factors guide development and urban growth, and water infrastructure is a crucial one. The US Environmental Protection Agency has examined the effect of water policies on the way communities are shaped, concluding that the relationship between water infrastructure and urban growth is dynamic. That is, as much as growth affects the policies about water, so do water policies influence growth. RenewLV recognizes this important relationship and the Regional Water Initiative is an effort to achieve smarter growth in the Lehigh Valley through coordinated planning of the region’s water utilities. If you have not visited Renew’s Water Initiative page, I encourage you to do so now. On that page, you will find resources and suggestions for how you can help influence more sustainable water infrastructure development here in the Valley.
One useful resource on the EPA website is the manual Growing Toward More Efficient Water Use: Linking Development, Infrastructure, and Drinking Water Policies. The policy guide offers several suggestions for each level of government on how to better deal with the water infrastructure concerns, and, equally important, offers advice for how to better assess the development issues within individual communities. At times, water infrastructure is left out of discussions about land-use planning, because the issues are covered by two different levels of government. This disconnect can result in higher user fees and uncoordinated development. To ameliorate this problem, regional approaches, with a focus on improving existing infrastructure in the core communities, can lead to more efficient governance and better planning.
Again, I would suggest visiting the RenewLV Water Initiative page to look over the resources. Also, view the preview for Liquid Assets, a documentary about essential – yet often overlooked – infrastructure. The preview is on the Renew website, and here: