Enhance human health and quality of life in global urban environments by promoting green water-infrastructure research, education and outreach programs.
Increased urbanization and population growth in urban areas has exerted significant demand to expand and enhance water-infrastructure – water supplies, wastewater treatment and urban stormwater management. The characteristics of conventional urban water structure include: centralized and large systems serving large populations; dependency on water supplies from water sources outside urban areas; increasing wastewater generation and treatment; urban runoff discharge to surface waters and wastage; pipe networks providing potable water to consumers; and drainage networks transporting wastewater and stormwater runoff away from population centers. Major consequences of centralized water-infrastructure include surface water pollution, groundwater table decline/saltwater intrusion in urban and coastal aquifers, and water losses via pipelines. Furthermore, conventional/centralized urban water-infrastructures are highly energy dependent and consume 4-10% of the nation’s total energy use, mostly from fossil fuel-based sources.
To effectively address immediate and long-term problems of water management in urban areas, a significant need exists for a paradigm shift toward a holistic approach for sustainable management of all water resources in urban environments. Sustainable water management can be achieved by incorporating green decentralized water-infrastructure in urban water management. Green Water-Infrastructure (GWI) is defined as small-scale decentralized water systems that integrate locally available water and renewable energy resources for water treatment, water delivery and use at the local level anywhere within an urban environment. Locally available water resources may include captured rainwater (rooftop and other impervious surface runoff), greywater and black water, brackish and salt water. GWI may incorporate advanced small-scale water treatment technologies depending on anticipated water use. Renewable energy resources may include, but are not limited to, solar, wind, geothermal, bioenergy, and micro-hydro power. GWI may interface with implementing urban agricultural systems and green roofs in order to support sustainable water and energy use and food production in urban areas. Expected benefits include water and energy conservation, lower food costs and local job creation.
In the U.S., at present, efforts are scattered, for both, promoting and implementing decentralized green water-infrastructure. The Green-Water Infrastructure Academy (GWI Academy) will bring together stakeholders and build partnerships between academia, government, businesses, nonprofits and private citizens in a cohesive fashion in order to promote green water-infrastructure research, education/outreach and implementation in urban environments.
The mission of the GWI Academy is to enhance human health and quality of life in global urban environments by promoting green water-infrastructure research, education and outreach programs. The GWI Academy activities include:
- Award competitive grants to support GWI research and development
- Develop and coordinate partnerships between academia, governmental entities, nonprofits and private sector to support GWI projects
- Sponsor GWI educational and outreach opportunities via:
- College-level experiential learning opportunities, including study abroad programs
- Seminars/lectures, workshops and symposia
- Encourage policy discussions pertinent to implementation and regulation of GWIs via position papers and other means.
The activities of the GWI Academy will be managed by its Board of Directors as described in the Articles of Incorporation.