Abstract

Today's water infrastructures are the outcome of an industrial revolution-based design that are now at odds with the current sustainability paradigm. The goal of this study was to develop a vision for engineering sustainable water infrastructures. A list of 99 ecological design principles was compiled from eleven authors and grouped into three themes: (1) human dimension, (2) learning from nature (biomimicry), and (3) integrating nature. The biomimicry concept was further divided into six sub-themes; (1) complex system properties, (2) energy source, (3) scale, (4) mass and energy flows, (5) structure, and function, and (6) diversity and cooperation. The implications of these concepts on water infrastructure design suggested that water infrastructure should be conceptualized in a more holistic way by not only considering water supply, treatment, and storm water management services, but also integrating into the design problem other provisioning, regulating, cultural, and supporting ecosystem services. A decentralized approach for this integration and innovation in adaptive design are necessary to develop resilient and energy efficient water infrastructures.

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