From Scarcity to Abundance: Nature-Based Strategies for Small Communities Experiencing Water Scarcity in West Texas/USA

Abstract

Water scarcity is one of the global challenges that threatens economic development and imposes constraints on societal growth. In the semi-arid expanse of West Texas, small communities are struggling with both growing populations and decreasing water resources in the regional aquifer. This study compares two nature-based methods that could solve this problem. The first approach uses ponds and wetlands to make natural processes work together to treat the wastewater that the community receives. We applied a novel Pond-in-Pond system, which offers advantages compared to conventional pond system configurations. This system unlocks strategic hydrodynamic advantages by introducing a deeper anaerobic pit surrounded by berms, which then outflows into a larger pond. The second approach consists of an alternative strategy which integrates waste stabilization ponds, a storage basin, and the reuse of wastewater for crop irrigation—a feat that not only treats water but also enriches soil fertility. Both approaches were analyzed in terms of economic potential and pollution control. The land application had a better return on investment and emphasized the importance of innovative solutions for sustainable water management in arid regions, offering economic and community benefits. The application conveys a clear message: where water is scarce, innovation can grow; where problems are big, solutions are available; and where nature’s processes are understood, they can be used.

Description

© 2024 by the authors. cc-by

Keywords

nature-based solutions, Pond-in-Pond system, wastewater treatment, water reuse, wetlands

Citation

Silva, Junior, L.C.S.D., Costa, D.D.A., & Fedler, C.B.. 2024. From Scarcity to Abundance: Nature-Based Strategies for Small Communities Experiencing Water Scarcity in West Texas/USA. Sustainability (Switzerland), 16(5). https://doi.org/10.3390/su16051959

Collections