Mission: Water Systems

When did humans turn their back on water?

The role of water in urban life is essential + it is apparent since most human settlements exist adjacent to some form of water body. Of course, living in close proximity to water has increased our odds of facing natural disasters such as flooding, but historically flooding was not viewed as a natural disaster but a blessing from a higher power. An example would be the river Nile in Egypt and the power water had on a civilization.  Water was a symbol of rejuvenation and a gift of the gods and meant that life would be sustained.

As human settlement have developed and grown, we have built more and more settlements along water which has had some negative effects such as flooding.  Our practices of building were  contradicting the natural cycles of water and seems to see water as a natural enemy to growth than part our life cycle. The shift from flooding being as asset to a form of  disaster is quiet puzzling. When did nature become the enemy? Our whole perception of water has shifted and instead of humans being integrated into our natural system we have forced ourselves out claiming no role in how it operates or the effects it has on the environment.

Nizar Eldahar, PhD candidate at CMU, made an interesting point that humans were excluding themselves from the water cycle and that our natural perceptions about how the system works is irrelevant to our existence. So why do humans feel that they themselves are not integral to our water system? And better yet when did humans become so removed from nature?

As we learned about storm water management, I feel that it is another device for humans to control the uncontrollable and better yet to potentially fix problems we ourselves have caused.  Nizar has provided some good food for thought in figuring out new relationships we can have with water and instead of managing water why not just build better cities that integrate the natural systems.  In turn, we can view water as part of our system of living and create a positive relationship between the built and natural environments.


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