Thresholds in Appropriate Technologies for Water Supply and Waste Disposal

by Charles G. Gunnerson,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Appropriate Technology in Water Supply and Waste Disposal


Appropriate technologies come from a variety of sources. Most, though not all, technologies are appropriate to the specific time and place in which they are developed. Some can be transferred to other times and places and many can be improved in stages as additional resources become available. A review of historical development in water supply and waste disposal practices contributes to a general model of the thresholds (or constraints) which affect technological choice. This study of historical and recent environmental, technological, and socio-economics determinants in water supply and waste disposal reveals that the most important thresholds in technological choice are those of willingness to pay, the flow of energy and material resources in environmental systems, and the development of appropriate institutions which can respond to the dynamics of economic development and technological changes.

Subject Headings: Water supply | Waste disposal | Environmental issues | Economic factors | Hydrologic models | Social factors | Water resources | Water supply systems

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