Communities are facing pressing water and sanitation issues across the globe. Recently, ECS tackled this issue through a partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to establish the Science for Solving Society’s Problems Challenge. While ECS is working on a global level to encourage life-saving research in water and sanitation, researchers at Stanford University and working on innovative solutions to these issues in their own back yard.
The water infrastructure that is currently in place in many semiarid and highly populated regions is reaching its limit. When taking recent droughts and population booms into consideration, many communities are beginning to fear water shortages. However, environmental engineer and Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment Senior Fellow, Richard Luthy, believes that answer to this problem has been right in front of us all along.
“These are billion-dollar problems,” said Luthy. “Meeting water needs in the future is going to depend a lot on how we reuse water and what we do with stormwater.”
Capture and Reuse Stormwater
Luthy is currently looking at ways to capture and treat stormwater to assist in alleviating current water supply issues in densely populated, semiarid environments. The environmental engineer is proposing a stormwater capture center that would be situated on 50-acres of currently unused space. Not only could the treatment plant help secure water infrastructure and the needs of the community, but it could also help the environment.
With stormwater comes runoff. This runoff is contaminated with harmful chemicals and often makes its way into oceans and streams. By recovering and cleaning a large portion of the stormwater, researchers believe that we will see a decrease in water pollution due to runoff.