Water Resources Engineering (WRE) connects engineering hydrology and hydraulics global, economic, environmental, and societal issues. Our student Genna Wislocki makes this connection here…
The article titled “UCONN Picks Connecticut Water To Solve Its Water Woes” was reported by the Peter Marteka in Hartford Courant on August 5, 2013. The news accounted in the Hartford Courant relates to the WRE field of hydrology. The primary issue here is the movement and distribution of water. To summarize the article UCONN is in need of about 2 million gallons of water a day more than it is currently receiving to account for its 3,100 acre campus supporting over 125 buildings. Proposals went out from multiple companies to UCONN including plans from the Metropolitan District Commission involving a 20 mile pipeline drawing water from a popular recreation point. The chosen plan was minimally invasive to the environment with a 5 mile pipe network and significantly less expensive. Based on my engineering education I believe UCONN made the correct decision in choosing the less invasive pipe structure as I show in the following research citations. The Alberta Energy Regulator corporation, with headquarters in Canada held a conference in 2002 to discuss the massive implications and environmental impacts of constructing pipelines. A publication “Best Management Practices for Pipeline Construction in Native Prairie Environments “ has a sub section of 17 pages worth of improvements which should be accomplished in order to mitigate the issues which arise in construction zones. One such issue was stated within the publication where, “Alteration of these sustainable grasslands, through improperly planned petroleum development activities, can delay the recovery time and alter the productivity of these valuable grassland” (2003). Huckbody Environmental is project management company for major infrastructure including pipeline construction. Here they discuss the implications of pipeline construction, “…occasionally mistakes are made or unforeseen events occur which lead to pollution incidents…including bentonite spillage to rivers and silt pollution of valuable river habitat” (Huckbody). Based on critical thinking on the news story I think this article was missing information on how they have gone about daily actives without the necessary water and management practices which can be exercised on campus in order to conserve the water they have.

Figure 1: Water propaganda via Historum

Figure 1: Water propaganda via Historum

Both on a macro and micro scale the study of hydrology and hydraulics is highly dependent on other disciplines and carries with it high value as it deals with many users, water resources management influences global, economic, environmental, and societal context areas. I have identified the broader WRE context areas of economic impacts by this pipeline construction issue. This economic context area is defined as the transfer, movement, production and consumption of wealth. This directly relates to the article because the cost of the pipeline is of great importance to those who will be funding the project. If a less environmentally healthy option is cheaper it is possible that this option will be chosen. I think it is important to ensure that healthy environmental options are made affordable enabling us to move towards a more sustainable society. I found that water shortages affect one fifth of the worlds population according to an article by the United Nations. According to the article water scarcity is among the main issues the 21st century is dealing with, with population increasing at twice the rate as the last century. The cause effect relationship between water shortages and economics are as follows – as society continues to use water in unsustainable manners such as drawing from river basins at a rate too fast for the river to recover it will become increasingly more expensive to obtain clean, potable water.

Figure 2: Some water shortage statistics via seametrics

Figure 2: Some water shortage statistics via seametrics

Works Cited

“Alberta Energy Regulator.” Best Management Practices for Pipeline Construction in Native Prairie Environments. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2014. <http://www.aer.ca/documents/applications/BestManagementPracticesPipeline.pdf>

“Huckbody Environmental Ltd.” Pipeline Practice Guide. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Apr. 2014. <http://huckbody.com/?page_id=1088>.

“International Decade for Action ‘Water for Life’ 2005-2015.” Water Quality. United Nations, n.d. Web. 23 Apr. 2014. <http://www.un.org/waterforlifedecade/scarcity.shtml> “Storrs, Mansfield: Connecticut Water Co.’s $21 million proposal wins backing.” UConn Picks Connecticut Water To Solve Its Water Woes. Hartford Courant, 5 Aug. 2013. Web. 23 Apr. 2014. <http://articles.courant.com/2013-08-05/news/hc-uconn-water-solution-0806- 20130805_1_water-treatment-plant-pipe-water-windham-water-works>.

 

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