One Water: Restructuring Urban Water Management (Source: West Houston Association)

Jun 12, 2024

By Kendall Crawford (LAN) and the West Houston Association

The City of Houston, along with communities throughout the United States are actively preparing to combat the impacts of population growth and climate change on public water resources, and One Water is emerging as their primary strategy. Despite over two decades of development, the significance and objective of this catchphrase remain elusive, so we ask – what is One Water?

Formally, One Water is the name given to an approach that leaders and policy makers are using to plan and manage urban water sources with the goal of establishing long term resilience and reliability. One Water policies were established from the concept of Integrated Water Resource Management which emphasizes the sustainable management of water and related resources to maximize resultant environmental, economic, and social welfare in urban environments. This technique suggests all urban water sources – e.g. drinking water, wastewater, greywater, surface water, and ground water be integrated and managed collectively. Simply put, there is value in all water regardless of its end use and every drop counts.