GIS UEP 232
January 25, 2013
Summary of the project:
Sanitation infrastructure is largely outdated in the US. From on-site septic systems to urban core sewers, there is a dire need to upgrade existing infrastructure if we are to move towards more environmentally and economically resilient communities. Because improvements typically require significant financial investments, and human excreta and wastewater are predominantly considered socially taboo subjects, improvements to sanitation infrastructure largely remain an afterthought to the majority of Americans. However, as global climate change puts more pressure on water resources around the world, and programs such as “toilet to tap” begin to unfold, the otherwise “hidden city” of sanitation infrastructure is capturing more public attention.
Ecological Sanitation (EcoSan) is a design principal, which utilizes improved toilet technologies to reduce or eliminate water use, and to return valuable plant nutrients such as phosphorous, and nitrogen back into our soils. As more and more communities will be forced to finance structural changes to existing sanitation infrastructure, EcoSan options will become more and more lucrative. Even with EcoSan technologies currently on the market, implementation is difficult because of differences in geographical parameters, zoning regulations, and a lack of guidance in implementing new sanitary technologies. Therefore, in order to move EcoSan projects forward, policy makers must see a clear correlation between acute problems such water shortage and ecological degradation, and current sanitary technologies. Alternatively, clear correlations must be shown between implementation of EcoSan projects and water restoration and ecological health. In this way, GIS can play a key role in layering complex issues related to water, ecology, and human behavior into a cohesive plan for the future.
What are some parameters for depicting where and how EcoSan systems would best be implemented?
-impaired waters 303d’s (TMDL areas)
-limited water supplies
-depleted streams and rivers
Daniel, E. B., Camp, J. V., LeBoeuf, E. J., Penrod, J. R., Dobbins, J. P., & Abkowitz, M. D. (2011).
Watershed Modeling and its Applications: A state-of-the-art review. Open Hydrology
Journal , 5 , 26-50.
This article explains how watershed monitoring and simulations represent a much more holistic approach for understanding complex water related issues, as opposed to hydraulic models which focus on particular parameters. Several watershed simulations exist, and the article provides a highly technical review of their spatial and code requirements. Most importantly, the article outlines how watershed models will be most useful in predicting areas for TMDL enforcement at a sub-watershed level. However, differences in zoning and district regulations complicate the model’s capabilities.
Foran, J., Brosnan, T., Connor, M., Delfino, J., Depinto, J., Dickson, K., ... & Stehman, S. (2000).
A Framework for Comprehensive, Integrated, Watershed Monitoring in New York
City. Environmental monitoring and assessment , 62 (2), 147-167.
This article represents a very practical and well-thought out approach to integrative watershed management. This article takes into account the benefits of watershed modeling, but practically displays the limitations of such models by way of regulations, economic feasibility, and risk management. Nevertheless the article points to watershed modeling as the key to preserving drinking water stores and restoring ecological balance for given areas.
Keller, A., & Zheng, Y. (n/d). Evaluation of Potential Water Quality Impacts from Different
Future Growth Scenarios in the SCAG Area. Prepared for Southern California
Association of Governments Bren School of Environmental Science and Management
University of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106. Retrieved from
This article highlights population growth as a major factor considering watershed management scenarios. The authors used L-THIA model assumptions and future land growth scenarios as their primary modeling scenarios. This article is useful for my project because it uses inevitable population growth as a tactic to facilitate smart planning.
Maidment, D. R. (1996). GIS and Hydrologic Modeling-An Assessment of Progress. In
Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Integrating GIS and
Environmental Modelling . Retrieved from http://www.ce.utexas.edu/
This extensive presentation provides an in-depth framework for understanding the spatial data needed for hydraulic models. This information is useful to me for background knowledge, but not implicit for moving forward with my project. More importantly, the presentation outlines advances and limitations within the current (2011) software for hydraulic modeling through GIS.
Sheng, J., and Wilson, J.P., (2009). The Green Visions Plan for 21st Century Southern
California: 21. Hydrology and Water Quality Modeling of the Calleguas Creek
Watershed. University of Southern California GIS Research Laboratory, Los Angeles, California. Retrieved from http://greenvisions.usc.edu/publications.html
This regional CA water plan utilizes GIS to show how parameters such as pollution loading, groundwater recharge, stormwater discharge, population growth, land use, inevitably affect the ecological health of LA County. This report is important to this research because it outlines data needs for specific parameters (such as point-source pollution loading) in the Southern Californian region.
Tsihrintzis, V. A., Hamid, R. and Fuentes, R. (1996). Use of Geographic Information Systems
(GIS) in Water Resources: A Review. Water Resources Management 10: 251-277,
This is an extremely thorough review of water resources modeling programs, and GIS capabilities relating to water resource management, including nutrient loading, groundwater recharge rates, TMDL’s, population growth, etc. This article is particularly useful to my project as it can be used as a reference for finding particular data sources related water modeling, and points to several examples of how modeling can be used to influence water management.
I am not entirely sure where to pull data from, as I believe that it depends on the specific parameter or model type I would like to use. However, the USGS, Agriculture model for TMDL’s, are good starting off points.