Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Big Thirst

Water may be the most important thing on the planet that we take for granted. We can enjoy a day at the beach or a run through a sprinkler in the summer, but we aren't likely to really appreciate all the ways in which we use and waste water. In a 2011 book by Charles Fishman, the true value of water is explored, as well as the myriad ways it is being depleted. Many of us will consider how much water is being wasted by an excessively long shower, but how many of us think of the amount being wasted by our television? There are other hidden losses of water; a substantial amount of water is lost through leakage. According to Fishman, “1 out of 6 gallons of water acquired, treated and pumped by water utilities in the United States leaks back into the ground before anyone can use it.” An ignorance to these kinds of factors limits us from taking the appropriate steps to correct them. 

The overall message of the book is that water is not limitless. It isn't a completely bleak story however, Fishman describes water conservation success stories that make use of more efficient systems and technology.

“Many civilizations have been crippled or destroyed by an inability to understand water or manage it. We have a huge advantage over the generations of people who have come before us, because we can understand water and we can use it smartly.” –Charles Fishman

To listen to Fresh Air’s Terry Gross’ interview with Charles Fishman, go here.
A summary of the book, as well as many links to purchase it can be found here

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