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Water for All: Bridging the Water Equity Gap

Oct 19, 2023
Dallas Water and Wastewater Unserved Areas Program

Imagine a day without water.

Water is a basic necessity that most of us take for granted until we are without it. The Imagine a Day Without Water day of action serves as a stark reminder as to why we need to make this precious resource accessible to all communities. That’s because without it, communities falter, health is compromised, and our institutions are unable to flourish.

The “A Day Without Water” initiative serves as a poignant reminder of the interdependence of our society on clean water. As engineers, we understand the profound impact that water access has on the communities we serve.

Just this past year, dozens of U.S. communities experienced devastating impacts to their water systems because of how storms, flooding and drought have impacted outdated infrastructure. These incidents demonstrate the pressing need for our policymakers to invest in clean, reliable water systems, and how firms like ours can partner with local utilities and water districts to create better outcomes for our communities.

In Texas, Dallas Water Utilities (DWU) has been a leader in making those investments and working towards those better outcomes. In September of 2020, DWU released the Dallas Water and Wastewater Unserved Areas Program report. This crucial review examined how water and wastewater services could be most effectively extended to areas in Dallas that currently lack access to these essential utilities. Through this program, the City of Dallas seeks to improve the quality of life and promote public health with access to clean and safe water as well as proper wastewater disposal in previously underserved communities.

Once the findings of the report identified areas for improvement, STV was tapped, alongside four other consultants, to investigate and determine what infrastructure is needed to provide services to each property. In support of this program, our team provided design and surveying services for nearly 40,000 total linear feet of new water and wastewater mains to occupied and unserved properties, many of which are now under construction.

STV’s work with the Dallas Water and Wastewater Unserved Areas Program is part of our commitment that no one is left behind when it comes to access to clean water. By bridging this gap with infrastructure that will drive economic development, attracting businesses and promoting job opportunities, we are able to ultimately help make communities better.

However, it’s not just about providing access; it’s about ensuring the sustainability and resilience of the systems. Our engineering efforts focus on solutions that can withstand the test of time and adapt to future challenges like climate change and population growth.

We understand that the journey toward equitable water access is a collective one, where our firm works toward solutions for clients that consider the needs of everyone. Our work on the Dallas Water and Wastewater Unserved Areas Program serves as a testament to STV’s dedication to creating a more equitable and resilient future for every corner of Dallas.

More broadly, there is much work to be done in ensuring that every member of our society has access to this essential resource.  I’m proud that our team is playing such a key part in supporting Dallas’s vision for their communities. 

Beth Kochur

Beth Kochur, P.E., is a senior project manager in our Dallas water practice group. She brings more than three decades of experience in civil engineering including a specialization in the design of water and wastewater infrastructure: specifically pipeline design. With her expertise, Beth serves clients in Texas, Oklahoma, Georgia, Washington, and Colorado to provide critical water and wastewater infrastructure improvements for various communities.