He starts by noting the rapid urbanization that is increasing in many towns and cities, which is causing water infrastructure to degrade at a much faster rate than previous decades and continues by explaining the importance of having this crucial infrastructure in place.
“Break, erode, or deny water infrastructure – natural or man-made – and the potable quality of water, and strategic viability disappears.”, he writes.
The World Tribune expands:
“As I recently noted: “Winston Churchill once said that we shape our architecture and thereafter it shapes us. Roman roads and city structures still guide us. We are captives of the infrastructure and modalities created in the past, and they keep us stable, but on a narrow path, unable to easily achieve radical twists and surprises to grasp the future.”4 Our infrastructure, and particularly our water infrastructure, is what defines us and our potential.
Throughout history, there has been an architecture to the energy supply network which has increasingly guided and benchmarked strategic power. The process of energy, and energy-related developments, are now well in the global public domain, and yet it was Britain’s — and then the U.S.’ — dominance of the energy supply chain which gave both states global authority. Underlying this, the water matrix has always been with us, but we are now at a point where the dominance of the water science and industry, in all its aspects, could become the next major area of strategic wealth.
That is not to deny the real impetus which water technologies gave to the rise of strategic power, whether in terms of water-driven mills and canals in Industrial Revolution Britain (and elsewhere), or the ability of Rome to build great urban centers throughout its empire because of its aqueducts. It is not that we are unconscious of the historical contribution of water technologies to society, it is that we have not broken out of our 19th and 20th Century technologies at a time when the societal matrix has changed in terms of concentration, per capita demand, and purity requirements.
History has shown that strategic power, wealth, and leadership derives from the creation and dominance of the vital infrastructure of the era.”
He finishes his article by relating the importance of the U.S. in the global scheme of water utilities infrastructure management, “The vast U.S. Strategic industrial base, coupled with a now-critical domestic demand to remediate collapsing and inadequate water infrastructure and quality, make the U.S. the logical focus for the creation of a globally dominant strategic water capability.”
If there is truth in this, then it is crucial for America to employ needed infrastructure asset management techniques as soon as possible in order to stay ahead and to further develop capability in this vital sector.
PHOTO AND CAPTION CREDIT: Ankakay via Flickr Creative Commons License