Natural and Engineered Solutions for Drinking Water Supplies: Lessons from the Northeastern United States and Directions for Global Watershed Management, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Natural and Engineered Solutions for Drinking Water Supplies

Lessons from the Northeastern United States and Directions for Global Watershed Management, 1st Edition

Edited by Emily Alcott, Mark S Ashton, Bradford S Gentry

CRC Press

303 pages | 16 Color Illus. | 52 B/W Illus.

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Illuminating opportunities to develop a more integrated approach to municipal water system design, Natural and Engineered Solutions for Drinking Water Supplies: Lessons from the Northeastern United States and Directions for Global Watershed Management explores critical factors in the decision-making processes for municipal water system delivery. The book offers vital insights to help inform management decisions on drinking water supply issues in other global regions in our increasingly energy- and carbon-constrained world.

The study evaluates how six cities in the northeastern United States have made environmental, economic, and social decisions and adopted programs to protect and manage upland forests to produce clean drinking water throughout their long histories. New York, New York; Boston and Worcester, Massachusetts; New Haven and Bridgeport, Connecticut; and Portland, Maine have each managed city watersheds under different state regulations, planning and development incentives, biophysical constraints, social histories, and ownerships.

Some of the overarching questions the book addresses relate to how managers should optimize the investments in their drinking water systems. What is the balance between the use of concrete/steel treatment plants (gray infrastructure) and forested/grassland/wetland areas (green infrastructure) to protect surface water quality? The case studies compare how engineered and/or natural systems are employed to protect water quality.

The conclusions drawn establish that it makes environmental, economic, and social sense to protect and manage upland forests to produce water as a downstream service. Such stewardship is far more preferable than developing land and using engineering, technology, and artificial filtration as a solution to maintaining clean drinking water. Lessons learned from this insightful study provide effective recommendations for managers and policymakers that reflect the scientific realities of how forests and engineering can be best integrated into effective watershed management programs and under what circumstances.

Table of Contents

Gray to Green: An Introduction to Four Case Studies on Drinking Water Supply in the Northeastern United States; Caitlin Alcott, Emily Alcott, Mark S. Ashton, and Bradford S. Gentry

Executive Summary

Introduction: Defining the Issue

National Trends

The Northeastern United States

Description of the Case Studies

An Assessment of Drinking Water Systems in Connecticut: Optimizing Natural and Engineered Systems for Protecting the Quality of Surface Drinking Waters; Michael Blazewicz, Lisa Hummon, Claire Jahns, and Tien Shiao

Executive Summary


History and Current Status of Drinking Water Supply Systems in Connecticut

The South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority

The History of Aquarion Water Company of Connecticut

Current Legal Efforts to Address Water Supply Challenges in Connecticut

Current Land Management Efforts to Address Water Supply Challenges in Connecticut

Future Challenges


Source Water Protection in Massachusetts: Lessons from and Opportunities for Worcester and Boston; Emily Alcott, Peter Caligiuri, Jennifer Hoyle, and Nathan Karres

History and Current Status of Drinking Water Supply in Massachusetts

Statewide Challenges: Trends Facing Water Utilities

Land Use Policy, Monitoring, and Asset Management

Comprehensive Approach to Drinking Water Supply Management

Summary Trends, Recommendations, and Conclusions

New York City Watershed Management: Past, Present, and Future; Justin Freiberg, Xiaoting Hou, Jason Nerenberg, Fauna Samuel, and Erin Derrington

History of New York City Watershed

Current Profile of the New York City Watershed

Future Threats and Suggested Actions

Future Decision-Making Outlook

Summary Trends and Recommendations

The Crooked River Watershed, Sebago Lake, and the Drinking Water Supply for the City of Portland, Maine; Jenn Hoyle

Water Supply Protection and the Portland Water District

Watershed Control Program of the Portland Water District

Water Supply Trends and the Value of Watershed Protection

Development Pressures on Watershed Lands

Potential Payments for Watershed Services Programs for the Portland Water District

Summary Recommendations and Conclusions

Comparing Drinking Water Systems in the New England/New York Region: Lessons Learned and Recommendations for the Future; Caitlin Alcott, Emily Alcott, Mark S. Ashton, and Bradford S. Gentry

Executive Summary


Surface Watersheds of New England and New York: Green and Gray Infrastructure

Cross-Cutting Themes for the Drinking Water Utilities


Future Research and Conclusions

Global Relevance of Lessons Learned in Watershed Management and Drinking Water Treatment from the Northeastern United States; Alex Barrett and Mark S. Ashton


Biophysical Considerations and Constraints

Forest History, Land Use, and Infrastructure Development

Human Institutions: Legal, Social, Governmental and Regulatory

Global Applications of the Lessons Learned

Quabbin and Dahuofang Reservoirs: Example of a Comparative Analysis


About the Editors

Emily Alcott, MES, is a fluvial geomorphologist and an ecologist at Inter-Fluve Inc. of Hood River, Oregon. She earned a master of environmental science degree from Yale University and a bachelor of science in biology from Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Her area of expertise is in the management of water resources and the restoration and rehabilitation of cold water stream systems. Her work has primarily been in the Northeast and Pacific Northwest of the United States.

Mark S. Ashton, Ph.D., is the Morris K. Jessup Professor of Silviculture and Forest Ecology at the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University. He earned his bachelor of science from the University of Maine, College of Forest Resources, and his master of forestry and Ph.D. from Yale University. Professor Ashton conducts research on the biological and physical processes governing the regeneration of natural forests. The results of his research have been applied to the development and testing of silvicultural techniques for restoration of degraded lands and for the management of natural forests for a variety of values. His work is focused on land rehabilitation for watershed management and water quality.

Bradford S. Gentry, J.D., is the director of the Center for Business and the Environment, as well as a Professor in the Practice at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. He earned his bachelor of arts from Swarthmore College and his J.D. from Harvard University. Trained as a biologist and a lawyer, his work focuses on strengthening the links between private investment and improved environmental performance, including in the area of water resource management for urban environments. He is a member of Working Lands Investment Partners, on the board for the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, as well as on the advisory board for Suez Environnement. He has also been an advisor to GE, Baker & McKenzie, the UN Climate Secretariat and other public and private organizations.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
NATURE / Ecology
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Environmental / Water Supply