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Infographic: Can We Keep Up? Increase in Urban Domestic Water Use by 2030

Runner-up in the 2011 Urban Water Design Challenge, sponsored by and Circle of Blue.

Matt and Hal Watts earned a runner-up prize in the 2011 Urban Water Design Challenge—sponsored by Circle of Blue and—for their quirky and artistic entry, “Urban Water Needs—Can We Keep Up? (Increase in Urban Domestic Water Use by 2030).”

Water Data Infographic Design Urban Cities World Water Day 2011 Circle of Blue
Infographic © Matt and Hal Watts for Circle of Blue and
“Can We Keep Up?” was awarded a runners-up prize in the 2011 Urban Water Design Challenge. Click to enlarge image.

Combining their engineering-trained precision with creativity that was honed at the London Royal College of Art, Matt and Hal first designed a world map entirely out of inexpensive kitchen sponges. They then poured water onto each country in amounts that were proportional to the expected urban water consumption in 2030. The sponges grew in height according to how thirsty the countries will be, generating a stark topography of future needs for urban domestic water.

See the other winning designs here.

Did you miss your chance to participate? Designers can continue to share their visualizations throughout the year by uploading to

  1. Very impressed with the map/sponge idea.

  2. Those sponges capture the thirst of different countries perfectly. This emphasizes the importance of using low water usage products such as low-flow toilets. It also shows the disproportionate need by the US when compared to more densely populated countries. Great idea.

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