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Free Water District
Great Lakes Region

Combining the Rust Belts’ loss of population with its abundance of fresh water, this proposal outlines a strategy for re-densification of underutilized post-industrial landscapes. Free Water is used as a catalyst for attracting water intensive industries to relocate from areas such as the Sun Belt - where water is scarce - to the water endowed Great Lakes region. Today, water intensive businesses representing millions of jobs are scrambling to secure long-term water resources as global supplies become more and more contested. In exchange for free water, industries will recycle “waste” water from their operations through a series of constructed wetlands in order to slowly remediate adjacent post-industrial landscapes. Wetlands will be designed as ecological treatment systems that make use of natural bioremediation processes to remove contaminants from wastewater sources. Once treated, water will be carried through blue/green infrastructure (bio-streets and wetlands) to recharge the lake. Ultimately, a network of Free Water Districts connected by the Great Lakes will grow. This proposal was originally submitted as to the WPA 2.0 competition.

Phase: Ongoing