Infrastructure Investment – Just Add Water

My two-year old nephew is way into all things fire fighter, fire hose, fire truck, etc. etc. and now I can add sustainable fire station to the list.

Last month I visited Raleigh, North Carolina Fire Station #6, where city, state and federal officials were celebrating a successful investment of “green reserve” funding from the stimulus to pay for some sustainable updates to local fire stations. The City is using money from the stimulus to install cisterns and raingardens at 11 fire stations. This will reduce the demand on Raleigh’s drinking water supply as firefighters can use this “harvested” rain water to clean fire trucks and irrigate lawns and gardens, while also decreasing polluted stormwater runoff that would otherwise contribute dirty water right into local streams.

According to the City, water records reveal that each station can use more than 4,000 gallons of highly treated water each month for washing equipment and training that can now be displaced. This may not sound like much until you add it up – combined the projects could save Raleigh more than 100,000 gallons of drinking-quality water annually.

While President Obama is proposing new investment in transportation infrastructure, Congress should consider adding in some smart water infrastructure investment as well – it’s already paying off in North Carolina.

See more photos on the City of Raleigh’s website.