Complex Systems & Where to Find Them • Water Sector

Updated: Nov 12, 2021

Part 2 of 5 for the January edition of "Converging over Coffee"


When asked why I chose to work in Water when I came out of school, I've always end up with an explanation of how it is the field that demands that we treat it as a living organism... as a complex system.

Water professionals know that whatever we do - make a design decision or select a technology - there will always be follow-on implications on other parts of the system & usually some impact on overall performance. Recognizing these complexities mean we occupy ourselves with looking for better ways to assemble & deliver the system & making those effects positive ones.

A complex system like this also has significant capacity to impact & be impacted by the external environment that it touches. It's not uncommon for 1 or 2 external goals (or stakeholders) to transform the design or delivery approach of a big part of a water infrastructure project. Might seem disproportionate, but best handled as motivation to collaborate & create something better. Innovators in the water ecosystem are flourishing at the moment with the promise of changing the way we do water. The successful ones will be those who are able to see the complex water ecosystem with great clarity & deliver something that improves upon the larger system.


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