With regards to human health, water-quality concerns focus on drinking water and water that people contact during recreational and personal activities, such as swimming or fishing (particularly eating fresh-caught fish). Drinking and wastewater systems are typically regulated; however, planners play an important role in protecting groundwater and surface water, since a variety of urban-planning and design-related features influence water quality, including the use of septic systems, management of wastewater services, location of storm sewers, disposal of toxic wastes and other pollutants, and level of runoff caused by urban development.
Design for Health (DFH) Materials
- Planning Information Sheet: Influencing Water Quality with Comprehensive Planning and Ordinances (1.88 MB)
- Key Questions Research Summary on Water Quality(493 KB)
- Image Resources
- Topical Planning Guides
- Comprehensive Plan Review Checklists
- Example Plans
- The Role of the Built Environment in Supporting Active Living and Health: A Review of Research Findings
(13 MB. It may take a few moments to open.)
This presentation from Active Living by Design covers the findings from a variety of researchers. It is divided into three main sections: “What is the built environment?”; “Effects of the built environment on behavior, natural environment, health, and society”; and “Active community environments and their impact on health.”
- Water-Related Environmental Public Health
The CDC Web site contains useful links to information about planning-related water issues, including ground water. The Health Studies Branch also promotes clean water.
- World Health Organization Drinking Water Quality
The World Health Organization (WHO) provides an informative, internationally-focused Web site dealing with drinking-water issues.
- Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials (NEMO)
NEMO is a program of the Center for Land Use Education and Research, University of Connecticut. This program is designed for local land-use officials addressing the relationship of land use to natural-resource protection. The Web site has a wealth of planning, regulatory and design information on how to better protect water quality and manage stormwater runoff.