Happy World Water Day and welcome to Water Works — a blog about the deep and shallow aspects of our planet’s lakes, rivers, and seemingly vast stores of underground water. Earth’s water supply works for us in thousands of ways — we employ it to fuel energy production; we harness it to make cement and computers; and of all of the freshwater flowing on the planet, we divert a whopping 70 percent through increasingly elaborate irrigation systems to grow food and other crops.
I’ve spent the last few years taking fieldtrips of sorts with farmers, engineers, chemists, fishermen, and a whole host of wildlife to see how we capture, treat, and distribute this critical resource. Water Works will be a way to share some of those stories, as well as comment on water-related news — from droughts and fracking to river restoration and new nanotechnology filters. The blog will keep you updated on relevant reports, projects, and peer-reviewed research that reflect and help shape the way we perceive and interact with the fresh elements of the hydrosphere.
You have no doubt heard about the global water crisis. Scarcity and pollution present debilitating obstacles to human and environmental health (according to the World Health Organization 780 million people lack access to clean water). In an effort to cover these issues without driving readers into depression, Water Works will be more about the journey from source to tap. It will focus on landscapes and solutions, ingenuity, and the resilience of freshwater ecosystems. It will try to capture the culture of water. I’ll take a deep dive into debates about water management, but also post examples of remarkable and quirky water-inspired photography, art, and infrastructure; interview experts and authors; and revisit interesting milestones in the history of water, and civilization. I also look forward to hearing from readers who have their own field reports on the state of the world’s water.
Together we will stay afloat. Stay tuned for more…