Delivery, but at what cost?
Pushing the current model to its maximum efficiency may well deliver by 2030, but at the cost of legacy assets that can do no more based on systems thinking still rooted in Bazalgette’s 1865 sewers and Ardern & Lockett’s 1914 activated sludge process. Doing the same but better may achieve our ambitions, but we are building a better cul-de-sac, and those great innovators would likely weep at our lack of inventiveness.
It is undeniable that electric cars will reduce emissions but working close to or at home and creating more efficient public transport will reduce them by more – and improve quality of life. In the same vein, building large, centralised treatment processes that reduce emissions and produce green energy has its place. However, more can be achieved by stopping rainwater from mixing with wastewater in the first place. This can be achieved by decentralising and treating waste where the waste is produced, using truly innovative solutions at scale that uses nature to protect the natural environment.