A non-partisan, neutral perspective supporting diversity in the color of water

Saturday, August 20, 2011

"Unspoken Water" versus "Spoken Water"

Spanish water scholar Laia Domènech of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona has a great paper titled  *Rethinking water management: From centralised to decentralised water supply and sanitation models* in the journal Documents d’Anàlisi Geogràfica (vol. 57/2 293-310).

Here is the abstract:

Since the second half of the 19th Century, centralised water and sanitation systems have been expanding all over the world. However, the limitations of this model are becoming increasingly obvious and, in recent times, a renewed interest for decentralised approaches is emerging owing to the capacity of decentralised systems to enhance water security and minimise environmental degradation. The decentralised alternatives explored in this paper include the use of rainwater harvesting and greywater reuse at the household level. This paper analyses the main distinctive features of decentralised water supply and sanitation systems and the main requirements to achieve a successful transition to decentralised water management.

A key table from the paper is reproduced to summarize the distinctive features of decentralized water systems.

A key statement in the paper is *Wastewater has been treated as «unspoken water» for long time but in recent times, a conception shift is taking place and wastewater is rapidly becoming «spoken water»*. The RWC has discussed this previously with the Geographies of Shit paper, where this famous statement was made by the author - *we need to put the word shit into people's mouths* to enhance understandings of global sanitation problems*.

A pdf of the paper about *unspoken water* can be accessed  here.
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As long as a word remains unspoken, you are its master; once you utter it, you are its slave. ~ Spanish poet Solomon Ibn Gabirol

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