Reaching out across the Web .. ...分享 Zuojun Yu, physical oceanographer, freelance English editor


水4.0:饮用水的过去、现在与未来 (双语Ch 9节选)

已有 1831 次阅读 2015-9-9 16:13 |个人分类:Water 4.0|系统分类:科普集锦|关键词:Water,4.0,,Chapter,9| Water, chapter


Paying for the Fourth Revolution



My water bill is just one of many that land in my physical and virtual mailbox every month. In addition to telling me what I owe, it helpfully points out the amount of water my family used and the breakdown of fees for different tasks that my local water company does to keep the water flowing to and the sewage flowing away from my home. Fifty dollars a month puts in the same price range as the monthly bills for cell phones, electricity, and Internet service. In fact, if I calculate the cost by volume used, my family spends a little less than half a cent per liter (two cents per gallon) for our water. That’s not bad if you consider all of the hard work that went into solving the problems of thirsty cities, cholera outbreaks, and sewage-choked rivers.



Although most of us give little thought to the details of the humble water utility bill, it may well hold the key to our urban water future. If the ways in which out utilities collect money prevent them from investing in new infrastructure before water systems reach a state of emergency, the problems described in the previous chapters are going to get a lot worse before anything is done about them. And if patching up the existing system ultimately proves to be a lot less expensive than adopting radically new approaches to supplying clean water and treating wastewater, we may end up investing in repairs to the weak points in the system for decades before we upgrade to Water 4.0.



Historically, utilities in the U.S. have almost always struggled to raise the money needed to improve water treatment and delivery systems, but in recent years it has become tougher. Unbeknownst to most people, the ways in which water utilities fund their operations had shifted over the past twenty-five years: before the late 1980s, operating costs were paid mainly through utility bills, while much of the investment in new reservoirs, pipelines, and treatment plants was paid for by deferral grants. A shift away from federal funding, coupled with increasing costs of operation, means that water bills are rising at rates faster than inflation just to maintain the status quo.



(Last two paragraphs of Chapter 9)

New scientific research is also showing that our sewage treatment plants might not be doing a good enough job. As discussed in Chapter 8, newly discovered chemical contaminations in sewage can cause endocrine disruption and other undesirable outcomes in the fish and wildlife that live in effluent-dominated waters. Because sewage treatment plants were not designed to remove the trace concentrations of chemicals that cause these problems, it is possible that additional treatment processes will be needed to protect the aquatic ecosystems downstream of the sewage discharge points. Simultaneously, regulators around the country are reconsidering their approaches for managing nutrients released by wastewater treatment plants and storm sewers as they struggle to control algae blooms and oxygen depletion in sensitive habitats. For example, a lawsuit by a local environmental group in Florida resulted in the EPA setting controversial new discharge standards for nitrogen and phosphorus that are considerably more stringent than those currently in place. The new regulations are expected to require many of the state’s wastewater treatment plants to upgrade to state-of-the-art nutrient removal systems and the managers of storm sewers to invest in measures to remove nutrients from urban runoff. The EPA estimates that the cost will be between three to six dollars a month for a typical family, while industry groups claim it will cost the state’s utilities about $21 billion to come into compliance.47



As we have seen, modern water systems are being pushed to the edge by costs associated with personnel, pipes, energy, and pollution, and it seems almost certain that all or most of these pressure will continue. We can be sure, then, that our water bills will continue to increase for the next few decades. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), consumers in most developed countries already pay about twice as much as the average American for drinking water and sewer service.48 Given the current rates at which water utility bills are increasing, it seems likely that in about 15 years our bills will reach the current levels paid in our OECD peer countries—and there is no reason to think that they will stop there. But the knowledge that a more expensive future is coming can also be the wakeup call we need to not just patch over our aging water infrastructure, but the reinvent urban water systems in a way that ensures that they provide a morereliable source of water that will simultaneously protect our health and the environment.




ps. I typed up the English myself, so errors are possible.


[美]戴·塞德拉克 著

徐向荣 等    虞左俊 校





Water 4.0: The Past, Present, and Future of the World's Most Vital Resource

Paperback:March 31, 2015

by David Sedlak (Author)

上一篇:Too bcc, or not to bcc, that is the question!
下一篇:水4.0:饮用水的过去、现在与未来 (双语Ch 10节选)

1 强涛

该博文允许实名用户评论 评论 (0 个评论)


Archiver|手机版|科学网 ( 京ICP备14006957 )

GMT+8, 2019-8-25 06:54

Powered by

Copyright © 2007- 中国科学报社