News & Insights

Why all of us should celebrate World Water Day

Global Senior Principal, Thomas Nogaj discusses the importance and value of water and how Carndo's teams are ensuring communities around the world have access to water for this year's World Water Day.

It can be easy to dismiss World Water Day as just another day, but clean and reliable water is an essential element for every one of us. It’s right up there with the air we breathe.

Have you ever considered how much of a wonder access to water really is? Think about it. We wake up every day and count on being able to keep hydrated, brush our teeth or take a warm shower. All are things we are fortunate to be able to do. There are many people around the world who aren’t so fortunate.

The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) highlight to us that access to clean water and sanitation is still a challenge faced by too many around the world. This year’s World Water Day asks us to think about what water means to people, its true value and how we can better protect the resource so vital to all. 

In my work in civil and environmental engineering, I am exposed to this modern marvel frequently. Implementing water and wastewater design construction projects offers me a unique vantage point into water.

Through design, we can make a difference in how water and wastewater facilities are built, how the water is treated, how deep well supplies can work better, and how we can use water more efficiently.

Whether it’s a small effort to provide more reclaimed water to a community or a large multi-million wastewater treatment plant, I recognize the value of water and all the ways we use it.

Water (and wastewater) as critical to how we live. In an era when many of us are thinking about sustainability, I’m proud that our team is constantly thinking of ways we can do better in that space when it comes to water.

Water forms an integral part of our food, energy and living systems. Our teams around the world are helping communities access to water for all of life's necessities. From drinking water to water for cooking and water to run businesses, our teams provide solutions that ensure water is treated as valuably as it is vital.

Caloosahatchee River Crossing

Reclaimed Water River Crossing Project

The City of Cape Coral is committed to providing reliable water to its customers and will continue to do so with the Caloosahatchee Connect project. The project will consist of a pipeline that will be installed across the Caloosahatchee River from the Everest Water Reclamation Facility, which is located in Cape Coral, to a connection point in Fort Myers, FL, USA near the Midpoint Bridge.

This pipeline will enable the Everest Water Reclamation Facility to receive up to 12 million gallons of reclaimed water per day from the City of Fort Myers. The reclaimed water will be treated to conform to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection standards.

The additional water will benefit Cape Coral by providing:

  • More reclaimed water to Cape Coral which will help to maintain freshwater canal levels during the dry season
  • Additional water to be used for irrigation to water lawns and for fire protection purposes

In addition to providing Cape Coral with a needed source of water, the pipeline will also allow the City of Fort Myers to reduce discharges into the river. 

For additional information, I encourage you to visit our project website.

Revit Model rendering of the Step Feed Advanced Wastewater Treatment (AWT) process at the Hernando County, Florida Airport WRF.

Airport Subregional Wastewater Plant

My team is also working on an important project for Hernando County, FL, USA - The Airport WRF Advanced Wastewater Treatment (AWT) Expansion. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) adopted The Weeki Wachee Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP) in June 2018 as part of the state-wide watershed management approach to restore and protect Outstanding Florida Springs.

The BMAP area contains the Weeki Wachee Spring Group and includes nearly five square miles within Hernando and Pasco County. To reduce nitrogen loadings to the springs, the BMAP includes a Total Nitrogen (TN) effluent limit of 3 mg/L as an annual average for wastewater treatment facilities located within the Weeki Wachee BMAP area.

As a result, the Airport WRF will need AWT treatment processes to meet the TN requirement of ≤ 3 mg/L on an annual average basis. I am excited to be working on a project that involves the design of an innovative step-feed nutrient removal process that reduces the nutrient load discharged by the Airport WRF.

Cambodian lady scooping water with hands


Cambodia-Australia Agricultural Value Chain Program (CAVAC)

In a country where about a third of the population is employed in agriculture, water is a highly valuable resource in Cambodia.

Rice is the biggest crop here and most farmers can only produce one crop each year, using water that comes during the wet season.

The Australian Government’s CAVAC program is changing that. As part of its effort to promote profitable irrigated agriculture in the Kingdom, CAVAC has constructed 10 irrigation schemes that allow some 12,000 households to grow an extra one or two rice crops each year. These additional crops have increased annual household incomes by about a third. The schemes use highly efficient electrical pumps and above-ground, brick-lined canals to feed water directly into farmers’ fields for about half the cost of traditional pumping methods. The irrigation schemes also make farming easier, particularly for women, which gives farmers more time to pursue income-generating and other activities.

Aerial view of Logan Water Alliance water tanks

Logan Water Alliance

Over the last two decades, the South East Queensland region of Australia has experienced rapid growth, and Cardno has played a significant role in engineering this growth across multiple major cities across the state. The Logan Water Alliance was (and still is) one of the largest water infrastructure delivery programs in Australia. Through tender, Council enlisted the help of Downer, Parsons Brinckerhoff (now WSP) and Cardno to assist in the delivery of the project.

Cardno’s renowned expertise in water and wastewater systems has been utilised across the program, from the planning and design of key infrastructure such as reservoirs, pump stations and treatment plant upgrades through to the renewal of localised infrastructure such as water reticulation mains.

The alliance assisted in the planning, design construction and commissioning of water and wastewater assets.

I consider myself fortunate to make a difference in a part of our world that affects every single one of us: our water.

Global Senior Principal, Thomas Nogaj

Thomas Nogaj is a Global Senior Principal and Water and Wastewater and has more than 30 years of experience in the civil and environmental engineering fields. Thomas provides consulting and project management on a broad range of water/wastewater treatment and conveyance projects for facilities of all sizes. He applies his expertise to develop innovative processes and solutions that result in cost savings for clients. He holds a PhD in Environmental Engineering from the University of Central Florida and is a licensed Professional Engineer in Florida and Illinois.