The intent of the Water Petal is to realign how people value water; to address the energy and chemicals involved in
transporting, purifying and pumping water; and to redefine “wastewater” as a precious nutrient and resource.
The scarcity of water is a serious issue, as many countries around the world face severe shortages and compromised water quality due to global climate change. Even regions that have avoided the majority of these problems to date due to
a historical presence of abundant fresh water are at risk: the impacts of climate change, highly unsustainable water use patterns, and the continued drawdown of major aquifers suggest significant problems ahead. Closed loop systems based on the resources available, with localized treatment, can help mitigate these issues and create a more resilient water future.
IDEAL CONDITIONS + CURRENT LIMITATIONS
The Living Building Challenge envisions a future whereby all developments are configured based on the carrying capacity
of the site: harvesting sufficient water to meet the needs of a given population while respecting the natural hydrology of the land, the water needs of the ecosystem the site inhabits, and the ecosystem of the community. Indeed, water can be used and purified and then used again—and the cycle repeats.
Currently, such practices are often illegal due to health, land use, and building code regulations (or because of the undemocratic ownership of water rights) that arose precisely because people were not properly safeguarding the quality
of their water. Therefore, reaching the ideal for water use means challenging outdated attitudes and technology with decentralized site- or district-level solutions that are appropriately scaled, elegant, and efficient.