URBAN WATER NEEDS: CAN WE KEEP UP?
MATTHEW LAWS & HAL WATTS
Responding to a challenge by ‘Visualizing.org’ to produce compelling visualisations of urban water data for World Water Day, Hal Watts and Matthew Laws designed a world map with land masses made entirely out of cheap kitchen sponges. Combining analytical precision with an artistic approach, they then poured water on to each country in amounts proportional to its expected urban water consumption in 2030. Elegantly literal, the sponges grow in height according to how thirsty the country will be, generating a stark topography of future needs for urban domestic water. It is estimated that by 2030, 60% of the planet’s population will live in cities. This presents unique challenges to water supplies and infrastructures, and will require creatively tailored solutions. As Laws and Watts write, ‘While this will have little impact on some countries, others will need to develop large new infrastructures. Some countries will be able to afford this more easily than others.’ Urban Water Needs: Can We Keep Up? won a runner-up prize in Visualising.org’s competition.