Imagine a scene featuring futuristic cities, complete with indoor farms and biodomes, such as you might see in some sci-fi films. Will this scene be possible and realizable in the not-too-distant years to come?
People are already migrating en masse to the major urban centers of the world, leaving the open spaces of their rural agricultural life behind them in hopes of providing a better future for their children – and migrations are predicted to increase.
The technology for creating self-sustaining megacities already exists – it is simply not being utilized as well as it could be, or so American Greatness suggests:
“Indoor urban agriculture makes a lot of sense. It is possible that using hydroponics, aeroponics, and aquaponics, industrial agriculture operations sited within urban areas can produce enough food to feed the inhabitants, reducing the need to import food from farming regions.
These facilities would also process wastewater from elsewhere on the utility grid to water the plants and reuse them as drinking water.
This concept of using transpiration from plants in a commercial high-rise agricultural operation to provide the last mile of greywater purification in the urban environment is revolutionary. Along with the surprisingly low—and dropping—cost of desalination and advances being made in primary sewage treatment, this innovation could help solve the issues of potential water scarcity in the urban environment.”
Here’s how. The greywater extracted from sewage would be subjected to biological and mechanical filtration. Then use it to water the plants.
The plants, in turn, would transpirate heavily in the indoor environment, and dehumidifiers would harvest this water as pristine drinking water, able to be pumped back upstairs or into the utility grid for reuse.
This idea of indoor agriculture as a water and food solution for growing megacities is undoubtedly worth considering.
Engineers and urban planners would need to develop sustainable ways to construct and implement such spaces, which could be more complicated than it sounds on paper.
However, if experts could do it, it would revolutionize how large cities operate and provide for residents.
Should such techniques and methods be widely adopted in the future, water demand per person could change, and the amount of future capital expenditure to meet water demand could decrease.
Balancing or reducing water demand against urban growth projections and providing required infrastructure is a constant challenge for water authorities and one that requires high-quality utility infrastructure asset management and planning.