ARTICLES BY ARCHIS AMBULKAR
The post-COVID era will see many changes in how the water profession operates. This article is an attempt to provide an overview of possible impacts on the water industry and the potential ways for sector recovery as nations deal with the disease at several levels.
Can you imagine the excitement and nervousness aerospace engineers must be experiencing when the countdown for rocket launch begins? "Three, two, one, blast off!" The next minutes, hours, and days test the team’s ability, experience, and knowledge put into the project. While this analogy may not be as applicable here, we environmental engineers also experience substantial enthusiasm and anxiety when water or wastewater projects enter the construction and commissioning phases.
Isn’t it ironic that our beautiful blue planet, covered 70 percent with water, is struggling to meet citizens’ water needs? Yes, and the reasons are obvious. Out of the Earth’s total water, less than 3 percent is available as freshwater, and a portion of it is actually accessible. Uneven distribution of fresh waterbodies and population across the globe further skew water supply and demand ratios. Also, climate change, deforestation, desertification, droughts, floods, and depletion of natural waterbodies resulting from anthropogenic and natural activities add to these miseries.
Be it municipal or industrial, clients are always choosy and sensitive about the type of technologies they select for wastewater processing facilities. When it comes to physical, chemical, or biological treatments, plant operators and supervisors look for the best available, most cost-effective, and most user-friendly alternative. As such, technology selection is an art of choosing, arranging, and weaving different components of the treatment plant to provide it a unique identity. It’s the basic building block that bestows a facility its heart and soul.
As per many authentic references, about 97 percent of the water in the world belongs to oceans and seas, whereas 3 percent is freshwater available as glaciers, ice caps, and waterbodies. While we strive to manage available lakes, rivers, and other inland water resources to meet present and future public needs, why not look to these saline water reservoirs as potential alternatives for sustainability?
While people enjoy seasonal change and wait for the first snowfall of the season, public works professionals are gearing up for the upcoming winter. Provisions made ahead of time help to deliver quicker responses to potential inclement weather.