Traveling the world might not automatically seem to be relevant to saving the environment. In fact, there are career options where those activities could be combined. Environmental engineering work can support the world’s massive coastal tourism industry in a number of ways. Good engineering can reduce water use, help local business save money, and protect the local environment.
Managing Local Water Use
Environmental engineers know how to handle drainage issues, recycle grey water (from toilets and washing machines mostly) and capture freshwater from rain. Engineers can design greywater recovery systems was well. Those systems capture water and purify it for later use in irrigation. Irrigating lush resort landscapes tends to use a considerable amount of water. This work makes tourist resorts more sustainable, which is good for the environment and generally good for their profit margins.
Protecting and Restoring Coastlines and Beaches
Environmental engineers can protect valuable beaches by designing, or redesigning retaining walls and jetties. These features are responsible for needless beach erosion. Storms and tidal surges can do even more damage to a coastal tourism trade that generates about $640 billion a year in the United States alone.
Protecting landscapes from storms and tidal surges is a related challenge where an engineer’s training can contribute to protective landscape designs that are also attractive. Engineers may be called on to design shoreline protection schemes, like seawalls and landscape solutions, or they may be tasked with managing the work.
Providing Alternate Water Sources & Reducing Water Use
Tourist resorts use huge amounts of fresh water for all of the usual things. That water comes out of the local water table, unless the resort takes steps to capture rainwater or render seawater drinkable. Environmental engineers can help solve either problem with various options. One solution option is to design rainwater recover systems that capture the water and store it for later use. In arid coastal areas, such as the United Arab Emirates or southern Spain, desalination is a better option. Engineers might be called on to design desalination plants or manage their construction.
A degree in civil engineering provides the skills that graduates need to design or manage these types of “green” projects. If you’re interested in civil engineering, you could click here for additional information. This article only describes three types of projects that might take you around the world. There are other ways to apply civil engineering skills to projects near home, or in other natural settings.
Emma Sturgis, the author of this post, is a freelance writer from Boston, MA.
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