Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Engineers are Cool

From the folks at Arup - -

Graphic of the week

Climate change and extreme weather events or greater urbanization and higher density living or both - -

Predicting the Future of Failure

Someone has a great crystal ball - - read the New York Times story by Mireya Navarro on September 10, 2012 - - New York Is Lagging as Seas and Risks Rise, Critics Warn.

20 Engineering Recommendations for Climate Change Adaptation

From Infrastructure, Engineering and Climate Change Adaptation - Ensuring Services in an Uncertain Future by Engineering the Future (which is a broad alliance of the engineering institutions and bodies which represent U.K.'s 450,000 professional engineers) - -
  1. Methods for prioritization of vulnerabilities in the infrastructure system are needed for effective planning.  There will be a need to distinguish between the short term effects of climate change, such as flash flooding, which in some situations may reluctantly have to be tolerated, and those that are sustained or persistent, such as rivers running low, where it may be more realistic to introduce counter measures economically.
  2. There are many interdependencies between the infrastructure sectors and failure in one area can very quickly lead to cascade failure.
  3. Multipurpose infrastructure will be more cost effective and could be more resilient.  When infrastructure developments are planned, additional uses should always be explored, such as reservoirs that can also act as flood defences.
  4. Carbon reduction targets will also have a significant impact on the infrastructure, both in terms of technical requirements and user behaviour, and these should be modelled in tandem with the effects of climate change.
  5. Regulatory changes are needed to develop and implement necessary adaptation plans.  In particular, regulations must be developed to deal with probabilistic rather than absolute scenarios.
  6. The infrastructure should be dealt with as a system of systems.  Mechanism are required to enable Government to make strategic decisions about the infrastructure as a whole.
  7. Standards should be adapted to allow resumption of a partial service after an emergency, where a full service is still unavailable.  For example, when water systems are affected, getting a non-potable water supply online should be prioritized if the resumption of portable supply is delayed, to provide water which can be used for washing and boiled for consumption, thus allowing some degree of normal functioning for home and business owners.
  8. The expected impacts of climate change in the UK will lead to conditions no more extreme that those currently experienced and dealt with elsewhere in the world.  Technologies for adaptation exist in many of these locations, and given that many UK engineering firms, particularly within civil engineering, have worldwide experience, there are good opportunities to learn from both technologies and regulatory frameworks overseas,
  9. While these are few technical barriers to adaptation, the cost of adapting fully whilst maintaining current levels of service is almost certainly unaffordable.  While some innovations can be adopted from overseas, engineers have a crucial role in identifying cost-effective technologies that are appropriate for the UK.
  10. Building (and their occupants) need to be considered as part of the infrastructure system.  Buildings should be adapted to make them more resilient to extreme events.
  11. Better network management is essential for resilience.  This can be supported by the roll out of a smart grid and smart meters, and the use of "intelligent pipework" in water.
  12. Use of continuous monitoring to allow reactive and timely maintenance across all infrastructure can increase.  Sharing of this data for use in modelling infrastructure and scenario planning is of great value and should be facilitated, subject to security constraints.
  13. Research and experiences from each sector need to be shared.  A catalogue of the key standards and process of coordination to being together the existing knowledge would be beneficial in supporting planning and investment more effectively.
  14. There is a need for greater understanding of, and therefore research into, the behavioural changes which are likely as a result of climate change, within the context of changes in demographics and overall population levels.
  15. Engineers need to develop further their ability to embrace probabilistic methods and flexible solutions, and to deal with complex risk scenarios.  The professional engineering bodies should lead on promoting and developing skills in systems thinking within the workforce.
  16. More engineers, with skills to deal with complex infrastructure systems, will be needed to develop and implement adaptation measures.  Adaptation, mitigation measures, and the demands of a growing population and economy all make demands on engineering capacity.  There must be efforts both to balance these demands and expand capacity.  Developing engineering expertise in adaptation will create marketable engineering skills and solutions for export.
  17. The changing climate may make the UK a more attractive and low risk location for business.  This presents an opportunity but also will increase demand on infrastructure and the need for resilient systems to provide continuous service.
  18. There must be expectation management as effects of changing weather on the infrastructure may lead to degradation of service.  Improving resilience will come at a cost, and a completely robust infrastructure, if achievable, will cost considerably more.
  19. Opening addressing the issue of achievable and affordable levels of service quality is essential to manage the public's expectations and to provide certainty for investment decisions.  Without certainty about the revised service levels, the private sector will be reluctant to invest and those investments that are made may be compromised
  20. Extreme weather can affect infrastructure and services indirectly through peoples' behaviour and the advice they are given.  A better understanding of effects of weather on behaviour and appropriate advice to give in such situations is needed, with planning to deal with the impacts of such events on critical workers.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Role of The Engineer in Disaster Risk Reduction

This is timely - - The Institution of Civil Engineers 9th Brunel International Lecture Series presented Shifting Agendas: Response to Resilience by Jo da Silva OBE, Director, Arup earlier this summer.

Adapting to Climate Change

A good report prepared by the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers - - Canada's First National Engineering Vulnerability Assessment of Public Infrastructure - April 2008.  The key themes of the report:
  • Some infrastructure components share high engineering vulnerability to climate change.
  • Improved tools are required to guide professional judgment.
  • Infrastructure data gaps are an engineering vulnerability.
  • Improvements are needed in design approaches.
  • Climate change is a factor that diminishes resiliency.
  • Engineering vulnerability assessment requires multi-disciplinary teams.

A sentence to ponder

From the new book by Thomas Ricks, The Generals - -

"During World War Two, senior American commanders were given a few months in which to succeed, be killed or wounded, or replaced."

Stony Brook Storm Surge Research Group

This is an excellent organization and website to get the latest on the Sandy storm surge in New York City area.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sandy and The Billion Dollar Club

As Sandy hits the East Coast, this is a good reference organized by year for climate/weather disaster events in the United States that have caused more than a billion dollars worth of damage.  From the National Climatic Data Center.  This could be a interesting question as the Billion Dollar Club expands as extreme weather and climate change becomes a new reality - - "How hard will insurance companies push for public infrastructure programs and projects that deal with weather and climate change adaptation?"

DIY Realtime Water Quality Monitoring

Our DIY world intersects with the sensored world at Atlas Scientific.  In this case, the world being monitored is water resources and quality.  This is from a press release the company issued:

"The days when companies could secretly dump pollutants into rivers has come to an end. Groundbreaking new technology developed by Atlas Scientific now makes it possible for towns and municipalities to embedded thousands of sensors into local rivers, estuaries and reservoirs, to actively monitor their health in real time. Each one of these sensors are no bigger that your thumbnail and costs a fraction of the price of traditional pollution monitoring equipment.

This new technology removes the human element and allows computers to read the data from thousands of sensors networked together. This data could be used to create a detailed map of water quality; updated as frequently as every 5 seconds. Traditional pollution monitoring required someone to go into the field and take water samples. However, who was monitoring the river at 3:00am on a Tuesday in the middle of a rainstorm? No one.

pH, ORP, Dissolved Oxygen, Total Dissolved Solids, Salinity, Conductivity, temperature, read by a computer and transmitted anywhere on earth in real time."

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Infrastructure, Engineering and Climate Change Adaptation

I ran across this report from the U.K. Royal Academy of Engineering as I was watching the latest on Hurricane Sandy on CNN.  Engineering will need forward thinking and looking individuals when choosing public infrastructure investments regarding where and how to live.  Our duty must be viewed clearly - - ensuring public and private servies in an uncertain and complex future.

Where Good Ideas Come From

Street Bump in Boston

This is a key point in the era of declining investment in public infrastructure; most cities are stuck with the infrastructure they currently have, at least in the short term.  Without money for all their infrastructure requirements, the key becomes the integration of infostructure with infrastructure - - exploiting the data generated by physical infrastructure gives cities a chance to upgrade it more effectively and efficiently.

Potholes in Boston, for instance, are reported automatically if the drivers of the cars that hit them have an app called Street Bump on their smartphones.  "Bumps" are identified  using the device's accelerometer and located using its GPS.  Bumps are uploaded to the server for analysis.  Likely road problems are submitted to the City via Open311, so they get fixed (e.g., potholes) or classifies as known obstacles (e.g., speed bumps).

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Graphic of the Week

Look at the states listed in the table.  Mark the state "manufacturing dominant" or mark the state "energy/government dominant" - - not hard to see the picture and pattern.

The Business Value of BIM for Infrastructure

Interesting market research report by McGraw-Hill.  According to the study, nearly half of North America owners, designers and contractors engage in civil works are actively using BIM.

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Cost (or rather price) of An Engineering Education

This is an interesting article on the pricing of education in Florida.  Supply and demand being a factor in the pricing of an engineering education versus that of an English major's education.

Dollars and Droughts

The U.S. GDP grew at only 2% in the third quarter.  The national drought was one factor in the growth number.  A report by the Bureau of Economic Analysis indicates the drought dropped GDP growth by 0.42% in the third quarter.

Climate change and extreme weather events producing droughts and draining dollars.

The Construction of Klyde Warren Park - Dallas, Texas

Engineering a New World

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Water Management in Jordon

Two observations - - the video of the bus ride to the beach is shocking.  Increasing climate change risk + constant regional geopolitical risk = a bad situation getting only worse.  The second in the decentralized wastewater treatment.  Another example of the  decentralization movement.

Money Chasing Water

See - - Water funds on the rise.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Monday, October 22, 2012

Trains and Predictive Maintenance

From the October 29, 2012 issue of Fortune - - The Economy According to Union Pacific.  In an interview with CEO Jack Koraleski, Koraleski responnds to the question of Union Pacific really being an infotech company:

"Very much so.  Technology controls the movement of the trains and to some extent the safety of the trains.  There are 4,000 pieces of detection equipment throughout the network.  As trains go over, they're measuring the temperature of the bearings, the impact of the car as it rides on the rail and whether there's a bump on it, the sound of the wheels on the rail for anomalies and patterns.  It's part of our predictive maintenance.  When you start to see patterns and something's not right, you need to pull that car out and have it inspected."

More information on the Union Pacific predictive maintenance program at this Wall Street Journal article.

The Firefighter of the Future

Meet Charli - - the future of firefighting under development at Virginia Tech.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Google and Wastewater

A Google search for "wastewater" may  start in you toilet - - see the interesting video on Google's utilization of wastewater reuse - -

Talking To Your Dishwasher

We are ramping up on our capabilties as we connect our things to the Internet.  Ube is an example - - from the smart plug to the smart dimmer to the smart dishwasher - - Ube is allowing us to control and talk to our stuff.  Turning on my dishwasher from the car with my iPhone is cool.  Actually unloading the dishwasher with a smartphone would be cooler.

The Smart Cow

When you have a glass of milk this morning, a farmer may have utilized an iPhone to monitor the quality.  Your basic dumb cow is getting smarter in real-time as big dairy enters the era of big data.  A Canadian company, Dairy Quality, recently unveiled a new product called Milk Guardian, a small black box that slides onto the back of an iPhone.  From robots to apps, the farm has become an innovation laboratory.  If you have a problem that needs to utilize a camera and software, the solution will most likely intersect with a smartphone.

A farmer inserts a plastic slide containing a milk sample from one of his cows, and the device counts the number of somatic cells (a high somatic cell count can be an indicator of mastitis, an infection of the udder tissue).  Counting somatic cells used to require sending milk to an offsite lab and waiting a week or more for results; using a microscope and an app takes six seconds or less.

Predictive Maintenance and Water

Xerox and Wastewater Treatment

The PARC unit of Xerox has developed a potentially more energy efficient wastewater treatment plant.  Another good example of innovation coming outside the boundaries of your particular industry.

More information is available at this link.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Why No Noble Prize for Engineering?

I am not sure why economics receives the big prize and not engineering.  Read this abstract and you are probably thinking the same thing.  You are also probably thinking what is a "sexy" versus a "beautiful" female as referenced in the study.

Graph of the week

Rationing road capacity by auctioning off licence plates in China.  Graph is in yuan and the upper range is around $10,000.


Palantir (named after the "seeing  stone" in the Lord of the Rings) could be the Google for the era of taking dumb data and turning it into smart data.  Firms like Palantir could greatly help engineers.  Too often engineering thinking time is spent getting into a position to think.  The era of big and smarter data will help engineers transform massive amounts of mismatched information into digestible intelligence.

Smaller Government and Water Resoures

This is an excellent article by Chrs Edwards and Peter Hill of the Cato Instittute - - Cutting the Bureau of Reclamation and Reforming Water Markets.  The article is parts history lesson, economics, and policy recommendations.  They write the following:

However, the underlying problems of water in the West relate to inefficient policies regarding water prices and water transfers. Governments have kept prices artificially low for so long that it has encouraged water waste and water usage in low-value activities. The Bureau of Reclamation charges users only a fraction of the full costs of water, as we have discussed. Also, local irrigation districts partly rely on taxes to finance their activities, and that reduces their incentive to efficiently price water. Water prices in most districts do not reflect the opportunity costs of the water.

And - -

A recent report by the National Academy of Sciences concluded that "the capacity for water to support cities, industry, agriculture, and ecosystems in the U.S. West is near its limit under current management practices." We need new "management practices" in water, and a growing number of economists, environmentalists, and resource experts believe that the answer is to pursue market-oriented reforms to federal and state water policies.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Joy's Law

Bill Joy is one of the co-founders of Sun Microsystems.  This a summary of Joy's Law - -

"No matter who you are, most of the smartest people work for someone else.  For the sake of minimizing transaction costs, we don't work with the best people.  Instead we work with whomever our company was able to hire.  Even for the best companies, that's a woefully inefficient process."

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Water Economics

The MRUniversity has a new course set in water economics.  To understand our future water economy you have to understand water economics.  This is an excellent starting point.

The course covers:
  • The effects water monopolies can have on consumers.
  • The pros and cons of water privatization in developing nations, including major examples form Buenos Aires, Bolivia, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen.
  • Why it's so hard to regulate private companies - - effectively what can happen to the price of water when it is interfered with through subsidies and price controls.
  • The tragedy of the commons in water economics.
  • How water ethics influences the actual supply of water.
  • And finally, what happens when countries engage in trading water commodities.

The Last Frontier

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Engineer as Taker versus Maker

See the excellent New York Times column from economist Tyler Cowen.  We all see the need for increasing our investment in public infrastructure - - the movement toward a focus on the nation as makers and not just takers.  But at the same time, if you are an engineer and own a house with a mortgage, you are a big taker (via your home mortgage deduction). 

Talking in terms of makers and takers is going to require individuals to take a serious look in the mirror.

Baseball and Engineering

It's World Series time of the year.  In the book The Signal and Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail-but Some Don't, author Nate Silver provides a list of  five different intellectual and psychological abilities that he believes help to predict success at the major-league level.  The list is also insightful for engineers, doctors, and bankers - - anyone wanting to play in their own major league.
  1. Preparedness and Work Ethic - - Baseball is unlike almost all other professional sports in that games are played six or seven times a week.  A baseball player can't get "amped up" for game day as a football or basketball player might; he has to be ready to perform at a professional level every day.  This means he must have a certain amount of discipline.  For an engineer, that discipline must be in place for a 50-year career. 
  2. Concentration and Focus - - Although related to preparedness, this category specifically concerns the manner in which a player conducts himself during the course of the game.  Baseball is a reflex sport.  A hitter has about three tenths of a second to decide whether to swing at a pitch; an infielder has to react to a sharply hit grounder as soon as it comes off the bat.  Baseball is sport requiring energized focus - - so do all of the professions.  Having open heart surgery - - the term "energized focus" in the context of your doctor is probably a really good thing to hear.  The same with the engineer designing the bridge you plan to drive across.
  3. Competitiveness and Self-Confidence - - While it may seem like a given that any professional athlete would be a natural-born competitor, baseball players must overcome self-doubt and other psychological obstacles in the early stages of their careers.  One moment, they were the king of the hill in high school; the next, they are riding buses between Kannapolis and Greensboro, reading about their failures on the Internet each time they go into a slump.  Every single aspect of engineering is a contest.  Sometimes people don't understand this until it is too late.
  4. Stress Management and Humility - - In baseball, even the best hitters fail a majority of the time, and every player will enter a slump at certain points during the season.  The ability to cope with this failure requires a short memory and a certain sense of humor.  Engineering and medicine have several things in common.  One is that both professions have to have individuals with strong coping skills - - the ability to deal with failure. 
  5. Adaptiveness and Learning Ability - - How successfully is the player able to process new information during the game?  Listen to advice from his coaches?  How does he adapt when his life situation changes?  What if he's traded - or asked to play a new position?  The path between amateur ball and the major league is rarely linear even for the most talented prospects - and so a great player can't be too rigid in this mental approach.  Engineers probably wrote the book on rigid - - in periods of transformative change, a little adaptiveness will make us all better major league professionals.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The app for the fat-hands-and-fingers construction guys

Firms like Aconex are providing tools for a world of tablets replacing clipboards.  New project management tools that link the office to the field to the client are all about improving efficiency and impacting effectiveness.  Integration is the new global goal - - my stuff talking to and updating your stuff.  Out with middle parts of any process and organization and in with a greater focus on mobility and fewer organizational parts..

McGraw-Hill is projecting that 62% of large general contracting firms expect to use iPads on jobs by 2015.

My prediction - - changing demographics and social norms will provide greater opportunities for women in construction.  As a percentage - - fewer fat-hands-and-fingers construction guys.

Shutting Down the Local Water Plant

It will be interesting to see how public officials and engineers response to the water plant hacking threat - - a world of old systems and old ideas running into a world of new and many times lethal threats.

See this article for additional information and details.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Are You Smarter Than a Lego?

A paragraph to ponder

From the current issue of The Bridge (National Academy of Engineering) by Jameson M. Wetmore - - The Value of the Social Sciences for Maximizing the Public Benefits of Engineering.

"Micro-ethics continue to be at the heart of most educational programs in engineering ethics, but considerable efforts are also being made to encourage engineers to consider macro-ethical issues - issues that an individual engineer alone cannot hope to address.  Examples include how much of the U.S. federal research and development budget should be spent on defense, whether engineers should be rewarded more for researching new technologies to address problems in the developing world than for funding ways of adapting existing technologies to local contexts, and how engineers can ensure that their work produces genuine human good and not just a new technological toy that satisfies a desire for change."

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


It will be interesting to see if free online engineering education advances to the the point of MRUniversity.

The Engineer as Fox or Hedgehog

From The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fall-but Some Don't by Nate Silver.  What a fox versus hedgehog engineer might look like.  The context is modeling and forecasting, but could apply to a larger sphere of engineering and business.

The engineer as fox - -
  • Multidisciplinary - - Incorporates ideas from different disciplines and regardless of their origin.
  • Adaptable - - Find a new approach - or pursue multiple approaches at the same time - if they aren't sure the original one is working.
  • Self-critical - - Sometimes willing (if rarely happy) to acknowledge mistakes in their predictions and accept blame for them.
  • Tolerant of complexity - - See the universe as complicated, perhaps to the point of many fundamental problems being irresolvable or inherently unpredictable.
  • Cautious - - Express their predictions in probabilistic terms and qualify their opinions.
  • Empirical - - Rely more on observation than theory.
The engineer as hedgehog - -
  • Specialized - - Often have spent the bulk of their careers on one or two great problems.  May view the opinions of "outsiders" skeptically.
  • Stalwart - - Stick to the same "all-in" approach - new data is used to refine the original model.
  • Stubborn - - Mistakes are blamed on bad luck or on idiosyncratic circumstances - a good model had a bad day.
  • Order-seeking - - Expect that the world will be found to abide by relatively simple governing relationships once the signal is identified through the noise.
  • Confident - - Rarely hedge their predictions and are reluctant to change them.
  • Ideological - - Expect that solutions to many day-to-day problems are manifestations of some grander theory or struggle.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Water Consumption and the iPhone

The is a presentation the founder of Aquacue gave before the IBM SmartCamp.  The idea of integrating smarter water meters and individual smart phones is interesting.  His comment about not coming from the water industry or having a water background should be insightful.  Another story of innovation coming from outside the boundaries of your industry and across multidisciplinary lines.

Campus Sex and Engineering

I was not expecting to see this outcome in the following campus sex survey report.  Engineering actually makes the Top 10!!! 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Climate Change Risk and The Gulf Coast

Organizations and companies are starting to think about the impact of climate change and extreme weather events.  This is especially true in the Gulf Coast area.  A good example of the current thinking on preparing for climate change is a report from power utility Entergy and Swiss Re.  Entergy, which owns the second largest group of nuclear reactors in the United States, is thinking in strategic terms about the impacts of climate change.  Some of this thinking is basic - - replacing wooden transmission poles with steel ones and elevating control systems on concrete stilts at vulnerable substations.

It sounds basic, but the efforts will be enormous.  The Swiss Re study estimated that there will be $350 billion in losses along the Gulf Coast by 2030 due to rising seas and sinking coastline.  The 2010 study identified $120 billion in potential investments, from stronger building codes to wetland restoration. 

Most of the billions will come from government and developers.  This costly infrastructure work will require creative engineers and efficient contractors.  Too often the public takes for granted the shared infrastructure that shapes and protects our lives.  Climate change will change our relationship with the basic supporting infrastructure that we rely on daily.  Our shared infrastructure will cease being conveniently obscure and in the background as weather becomes more extreme and uncertain.  Our infrastructure may seem to have only indirect benefits, but with increasing flood potential and power outages, our appreciation for our infrastructure will be viewed more directly in a shared context.

Climate change and extreme weather may put the "we" back into our shared infrastructure resources and investments.

(This is another good presentation from Swiss Re - - note the "adaptation cost curve.")

Graphic of the Week

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Water Reuse In The West

This is an excellent source for water reuse information - - individual state programs and institutional issues.

Engineering Anything

Forget the power and potential of 3D printers.  Here is a machine that can create anything - - maybe the future of industrial sustainability.  The ability to transform nothing into something.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Engineering and Deep Uncertainty

The term "deep uncertainty" could be very important to engineering in the near future.  I recently ran across the term in the context of climate change in a World Bank report (Investment Decision Making Under Deep Uncertainty). 

When dealing with climate change, engineers are faced with uncertainty that's difficult or impossible to quantify.  The best the engineering community might be able to plan on is to develop climate change strategies that's robust to unknowns, rather than one that tries to optimize outcomes.

Climate change produces at least two sets of big unknowns for engineers.  The first is the climate itself - - how much damage will climate change cause?  The second set of unknowns surrounds the relationship between public policy and the energy system.  When looking at these two unknowns independent of each other, you can see the uncertainty.  A much more complex problem is the linkage and connections between these two big unknowns.  The two sets of unknowns interface with each other over a broad range of critical issues.  This is the world of deep uncertainty that engineering will have to come to grips with - - quickly.

See more at this excellent post.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Fix It First

A new report and strategic vision for fixing our highway system - - Fix It First, Expand It Second, Reward It Third: A New Strategy for America's Highways.


The roads and bridges that make up our nation’s highway infrastructure are in disrepair as a result of insufficient maintenance—a maintenance deficit that increases travel times, damages vehicles, and can lead to accidents that cause injuries or even fatalities. This deficit is in part due to a prioritization of new projects over care for existing infrastructure and contributes to a higher-cost, lower-return system of investment. This paper proposes a reorganization of our national highway infrastructure priorities to "Fix It First, Expand It Second, and Reward It Third." First, all revenues from the existing federal gasoline tax would be devoted to repair, maintain, rehabilitate, reconstruct, and enhance existing roads and bridges on the National Highway System. Second, funding for states to build new and expand existing roads would come from a newly created Federal Highway Bank, which would require benefit-cost analysis to demonstrate the efficacy of a new build. Third, new and expanded transportation infrastructure that meets or exceeds projected benefits would receive an interest rate subsidy from a Highway Performance Fund to be financed by net revenues from the Federal Highway Bank.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wine and Robots

Another example of the impact robotics will have on labor markets.  If you can get them to pick grapes - - what is next?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Monday, October 1, 2012

Alpha Reclaim Technology, LLC

You were probably looking at the intersection of our energy requirements and water resources today - - your toilet.  Texas-based Alpha Reclaim Technology, LLC is one of the new breed of firms and organizations utilizing wastewater effluent to support hyrdrodracking drilling activities.  Several Texas cities and communities are selling their effluent to firms like Alpha - - the City of Bandera recently did this.

The Alpha mission statement from their website - -

The founders of Alpha Reclaim Technology, LLC, recognize there is an ever-growing demand for water by commercial industries which presently draw on freshwater supplies for their needs. This demand is contributing to the depletion of our freshwater resources utilized by cities and municipalities to serve the public.

While freshwater is a depleting natural resource, effluent is an ever-growing byproduct resource. For many of these industries, effluent can displace freshwater use.

Alpha's mission is to create a Virtual Effluent Pipeline (“VEP”) by aggregating sources of effluent to the degree that effluent will be perceived as an alternative water source. These industries include, but are not limited to, oil and gas production, thermo electric power generation, construction, agricultural production and mining.

By reclaiming effluent, Alpha will be providing an unrealized revenue source for cities and municipalities, creating new jobs for a new industry and helping industries utilize an untapped resource. Creating this paradigm shift provides a business opportunity on multiple levels, but more importantly, helps preserve a critical resource for future generations.