Infrastructure refers to the fundamental facilities and systems serving a country, city, or other area, including the services and facilities necessary for its economy to function. Infrastructure is composed of public and private physical improvements such as roads, bridges, tunnels, water supply, sewers, electrical grids, and telecommunications (including Internet connectivity and broadband speeds). In general, it has also been defined as "the physical components of interrelated systems providing commodities and services essential to enable, sustain, or enhance societal living conditions".
There are two general types of ways to view infrastructure, hard or soft. Hard infrastructure refers to the physical networks necessary for the functioning of a modern industry. This includes roads, bridges, railways, etc. Soft infrastructure refers to all the institutions that maintain the economic, health, social, and cultural standards of a country. This includes educational programs, parks and recreational facilities, law enforcement agencies, and emergency services.
The word infrastructure has been used in English since 1887 and in French since 1875, originally meaning "The installations that form the basis for any operation or system". The word was imported from French, where it means subgrade, the native material underneath a constructed pavement or railway. The word is a combination of the Latin prefix "infra", meaning "below" and many of these constructions are underground, for example, tunnels, water and gas systems, and railways. The army use of the term achieved currency in the United States after the formation of NATO in the 1940s, and by 1970 was adopted by urban planners in its modern civilian sense.
Drinking water or potable water is water of sufficiently high quality that can be consumed or used with low risk of immediate or long term harm. In most developed countries, the water supplied to households, commerce, and industry is all of drinking water standard, even though only a very small proportion is actually consumed or used in food preparation. Other than consumption, other typical uses include washing or landscape irrigation.
Over large parts of the world have inadequate access to potable water and use sources contaminated with disease vectors, pathogens or unacceptable levels of toxins or suspended solids. Such water is not wholesome, and drinking or using such water in food preparation leads to widespread acute and chronic illnesses and is a major cause of death and misery in many countries. Reduction of waterborne diseases is a major public health goal in developing countries.
Although covering some 70% of the Earth's surface, most water is saline. Freshwater is available in almost all populated areas of the earth, although it may be expensive and the supply may not always be sustainable. Sources where water may be obtained include:
- ground sources such as groundwater, hyporheic zones and aquifers.
- precipitation which includes rain, hail, snow, fog, etc.
- surface water such as rivers, streams, glaciers
- biological sources such as plants.
- the sea through desalination
- Water supply network
The most efficient way to transport and deliver potable water is through pipes. Plumbing can require significant capital investment. Some systems suffer high operating costs. The cost to replace the deteriorating water and sanitation infrastructure of industrialized countries may be as high as $200 billion a year. Leakage of untreated and treated water from pipes reduces access to water. Leakage rates of 50% are not uncommon in urban systems. Because of the high initial investments, many less wealthy nations cannot afford to develop or sustain appropriate infrastructure, and as a consequence people in these areas may spend a correspondingly higher fraction of their income on water. Read more...
Graphical phases in the life cycle of a facility
Public Vs. Private Provision
Grenville Mellen Dodge (April 12, 1831 – January 3, 1916) was a Union army officer on the frontier and during the Civil War, a U.S. Congressman, businessman, and railroad executive who helped construct the Transcontinental Railroad. Born in Putnamville, near Danvers in Massachusetts, Dodge moved frequently while his father tried various occupations. While working at a neighboring farm, the 14-year-old Grenville met the owner's son, Frederick W. Lander, and helped him survey a railroad. In 1851, he graduated from Norwich University with a degree in civil engineering, then moved to Iowa, where he settled in the Missouri River city of Council Bluffs. For the next decade, he was involved in surveying for railroads, including the Union Pacific. He married Ruth Anne Browne on May 29, 1854. He was also a partner in the Baldwin & Dodge banking firm, and in 1860 served on the Council Bluffs City Council. Dodge joined the Union Army in the Civil War.
During the 1865 campaign in the Black Hills, while escaping from a war-party, Dodge realized he had found a pass for the Union Pacific Railroad, west of the Platte River. In May 1866, he resigned from the military and, with the endorsement of Generals Grant and Sherman, became the Union Pacific's chief engineer and thus a leading figure in the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad. Dodge's job was to plan the route and devise solutions to any obstacles encountered. Dodge had been hired by Thomas Clark Durant who was the major investor in the Union Pacific. Read more...