- About Alex
- Other Work
- The Ripple Effect
Access to Drinkable Water Shouldn’t Be an American “Pipe Dream”
- by Care2 Causes Editors
- March 22, 2012
- 12:16 pmBy Salvatore Cardoni
There is no more fundamental natural resource to life, liberty and good health than water.
A lack of water to sustain daily needs is a reality today for one in three people around the world.
While the global problem is worsening as cities and populations expand and the demands for water grow in agriculture and industry, the United States isn’t exactly “hydrologically blessed” either.
Contrary to what the average American on Main Street might assume—that potable freshwater will always be a tap, faucet, spigot, or shower head away—the United States is in the throes of a very real water crisis.
As depicted in Participant Media’s upcoming documentary, Last Call at the Oasis, America faces a significant water emergency in four areas: consumption, conservation, quality, and infrastructure.
The sobering statistics don’t lie.
Consumption: The average American consumes 99 gallons of water each and every day—this figures includes so-called “hidden water”—whereas the world’s poorest live on less than two and a half gallons per day.
Conservation: Replacing grass laws with native plans (especially in arid communities) can save over 15,000 gallons per year.
Quality: Sixty-seven percent of groundwater near major American poultry farms contains antibiotics.
Infrastructure: Thirty percent of pipes in systems that deliver water to more than 100,000 people are between 40 and 80 years old, according to the EPA. It is estimated to cost $1 trillion to upgrade America’s water infrastructure over the next 25 years.
Introduced this week as part of the social action campaign for Last Call at the Oasis, the Community Water Bill of Rights aims to inform each and every American precisely what their H20 civil liberties are.
In the coming months, the declaration will be delivered to members of Congress and state governors and asking them to make water issues an ongoing priority.
It has to be part of the American agenda or we will all regret our neglect .
"Both drought and flood are on the rise, and Alex Prud'homme, in this fine new account, helps you understand why. We've taken the planet's hydrology for granted for the 10,000 years of human civilization; that's a luxury we can no longer afford."
- Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature and Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet; founder of 350.org
"By illuminating the central issues -- water quality, water quantity, ownership, waste, infrastructure -- through the tales of individuals who wrestle with them, Alex Prud'homme makes a vast and desperately serious topic flow beautifully through the rocks and hard places that our planet is caught between"
- John Seabrook, staff writer at The New Yorker and author of Flash of Genius
“The problem of water quantity, quality and use are upon us. Alex Prud’homme’s book identifies some of the culprits, including us inattentive citizens and the combination of regulations and markets needed to make clean water usable and available in the Twenty-first Century. This book should wake you up.”
- William D. Ruckelshaus, EPA Administrator under presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan
Tina Bennett | William Morris Endeavor
Ashley Fox | William Morris Endeavor
Erin Conroy | William Morris Endeavor
Reporting for The Ripple EffectReporting for the book I traveled from inside New York City’s new Water Tunnel No. 3 (the $6 billion water tunnel being drilled 600 feet beneath Manhattan) to the disputed aquifers of Poland Springs, ME, the “intersex” fish and Dead Zone of the Chesapeake Bay, poisoned wells and flooding rivers in the Midwest, the “water-energy nexus” in oil and gas fields, the failed levees of Katrina-wracked New Orleans, drought-threatened Las Vegas, California’s vulnerable San Francisco Delta, and up to the resource wars of the Alaskan Peninsula.