Two weeks ago, at a conference panel on water policy issues and green jobs, an engineer consultant explained why major water agencies are slow to change and don't adopt new technologies readily.
They need to ensure reliable service, and therefore they default to mega-systems: dams, canals, large treatment plants. Most importantly, he said, "We don't want anybody to get hurt."
We can all support agencies' efforts to protect the health of their consumers, but this "no-one-gets-hurt" stance doesn't take into account the hurt that falls on people outside the agency's purview. If we click back to look at the big picture, we see that the policies, actions, costs and impacts of agencies acting within their limited jurisdiction - or "silo," in management parlance - does harm people, although that harm may not be visible.
But who are these people who are getting hurt without being seen? Who are these invisible victims?