Project #1374

Restoring the Water Commons: A Facilitated Dialogue About Ecological Thresholds, Biomimicry, Water Governance, and Society

Principal Investigator
Research Manager
Mr. Jeff C Moeller
Action, Inc.
Integrated Planning & Water Management
Decentralized Systems
Green Infrastructure
Water Quality


The tragedy of the commons is a powerful metaphor for understanding how rational individual choices can unravel an ecosystem, a community, and a culture. Is water a transcendent commons that requires an integrated approach? What are the global thresholds that threaten the resilience of nature's systems? In two meetings held in 2010, experts were challenged to address these questions and multiple perspectives with an emphasis on science, the arts, and change management were tapped. The sessions focused on how water is connected to the multiple planetary boundaries, and how water infrastructure and urban planning experts should think about redesigning the "paradigm" of urban management and urban design. Participants considered how new infrastructure designs can "mimic" natural processes and they developed a policy and "market transformation" agenda based on their discussions. Published by the Coalition for Alternative Wastewater Treatment. 61 pages. Online PDF. (2010)

Originally funded as WERF project DEC8SG06.