College of Environmental Design alumna Vicki Elmer (MCP ‘81, Ph.D. City & Regional Planning ‘91) recently co-authored a Planning Advisory Service (PAS) report for the American Planning Association (APA) on water and the built environment. Titled “Planners and Water,” the 156-page report looks at water supply, water quality, and stormwater as a single resource for planners to manage.
Much of the report draws from the work of APA’s Water Task Force. Seven chapters cover current thinking about water cycles and systems, while a deeper dive reveals the ripple effects of local needs and global trends. A section on financing suggests ways to prime the pump for capital projects and innovative systems, and five strategic points of intervention show the best places for planners to jump in and make an impact.
Case studies map out some of the tasks planners are taking today, while best practices add to the pool of solutions. While in past decades planners interested in water issues were focused on water as a natural resource and environmental feature, water service issues addressing water quantity and quality—usually expressed as water supply, wastewater management and stormwater infrastructure—were left to the water utility agencies and companies.
Today, water planning is undergoing rapid change because of the impacts of population growth, increased dwelling in cities, climate change, infrastructure deterioration and the continuing influence of the environmental movement. The report concludes that promoting greater interdisciplinary engagement in solving water management issues and identifying a wide array of recommended practices that can be adapted by the planning community to improve water planning are necessary for the landscape architecture and environmental planning disciplines.
“Planners can help reconnect society to water’s natural setting—and identify the complex interdependencies between water use, wastewater disposal, runoff management, surface and groundwater resources, and the natural environment—to start solving the many challenges of planning forland use and water resources,” the report’s authors conclude.
You can read more about “Planners and Water” here.