Water Resources Engineering (WRE) connects to economic, environmental, and societal issues.  Our student Elliott Carlson makes this connection in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  This current event was reported in The International Water Association, on April 17, 2017, under the title, Argentina, expanding availability of water and sanitation, by Tom Williams.  This is found to be accurate by referencing similar information found in the 2011 report by The Guardian stating that 11% of Argentina’s population lacked infrastructure for water and sanitation.  Also stated, nearly every month Argentina’s President, Cristina Fernández, introduces projects that would provide these amenities to the densely populated districts on the outskirts of Buenos Aires (Valente, 2011).

Figure 1 Palermo Water Treatment Plan, Agua y Saneamientos Argentinos, AySA, Buenos Aires (Saltiel, 2017)

As a sub-discipline of civil engineering, WRE is concerned with the collection and management of water.  This includes the prediction and management of the quality and the quantity of water in both underground and above ground sources.  Further, the specific discipline of Hydraulic Engineering is concerned with the flow and conveyance of fluids.  This area focuses on the design of pipelines, water supply networks, drainage facilities, and canals (Islamic University, 2015).  These disciplines can be directly related to this current event regarding water distribution in Argentina.  Both Water Resources Engineers and Hydraulic Engineers are involved in the infrastructure development process in order to further provide parts of Buenos Aires access to water and sanitation. This is important for WRE because it creates an opportunity to apply what is known and design a system while overcoming and adapting to challenges along the way.  The current event article does not mention the fact that WRE involves resource management through hydrology, meteorology, and geology while the actual task of designing a sanitation or water distribution facility is left to civil engineers in a separate sub-discipline (Islamic University, 2015).

Three common important issues can be defined as economic, environmental, and societal; all of which play a role in this specific current event.  All of these issues are important to assess in a design because a balance is created between money, the area, and the people.  The event discusses the 1999 ‘Argentine great depression’ and how it led to political, social, and economic instability.  The event briefly discusses the challenge of working with diminishing water resources.  However, there is not much detail regarding the specifics of the situation or any design solutions to remedy the environmental problem.  The event mentions the issue of designing for an expanding population.  Topics of discussion include the correct institutional model for delivering water and sanitation services for expanding boundaries and growing populations (Williams, 2017).  One main societal issue found in this event is the inequity of water access.  As distance from the center of Buenos Aries increases, the likelihood of access to piped water and sanitation decreases.  According to the head of the Green Cross Argentina (GSA), Marisa Arienza, access to piped water has increased from 66% in 1991 to 89% today (Valente, 2011).  The demand for clean water and sanitation leads to the analysis of the resource in the environment.  This further develops designs to capture and distribute the resource in an inexpensive, sustainable, and impartial method.  The work done in WRE allows for designs to be implemented, allowing for a period of prosperity and further development in Buenos Aries, Argentina.


Faculty of Engineering. Sub-disciplines of Civil Engineering. The Islamic University in Madinah. http://engineering.iu.edu.sa/index.php/sub-disciplines-of-civil-engineering/. Published 2015. Accessed February 5, 2018.

Saltiel G. How will Argentina achieve universal access to water and sanitation? Takeaways from International Water Association Conference in Buenos Aires. The Water Blog. http://blogs.worldbank.org/water/how-will-argentina-achieve-universal-access-water-and-sanitation-takeaways-international-water. Published December 18, 2017. Accessed February 5, 2018.

Valente M. Access to clean water in Argentina remains a work in progress, says report. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2011/dec/16/access-clean-water-argentina-progress. Published December 16, 2011. Accessed February 5, 2018.

Williams T. Argentina, expanding availability of water and sanitation. International Water Association. http://www.iwa-network.org/argentina-expanding-availability-of-water-and-sanitation/. Published April 17, 2017. Accessed February 5, 2018.