America's Water Explained in Bite-sized Videos

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If you are a little fuzzy about how the water you drink is affected by climate change, there is a fine little short video series now available online to break it down. In fact, if you live in the United States, these National Science Foundation and NBC Learn produced videos about sustainable water supplies might even cover the water in your tap.

I watched all seven videos and found even the primer on the water cycle to be a good nice review, despite the fact that I write about these sorts of things quite a bit and have lived in the thirsty West all my life. I suspect I’m a bit more sensitive than the average American because I live in a desert, get my water from my own well, and have had the terrible experience of having my taps run dry. But I also suspect most Americans have no idea how close they are to having a similar experience.

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The video on the Ogallala aquifer, for instance, is pretty dire, but somehow this threat to one of our most food producing regions flies below the radar of the national media. The video on Lake Erie is a bit more upbeat, but reveals some of the details about how the changing rainfall patterns on farmlands, which is part of a larger global climate change, has threatened all life in that great lake.

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The same theme can be found in just about all of the videos. They don’t make a big deal of the climate change angle, but it’s there. It’s behind the trees dying and changing the water quality and quantities in the Rockies, the water supply crisis in California, and the fact that the great Ogallala aquifer isn’t able to keep up with the demands of agriculture.

There is even a video about urban water quality issues in Baltimore that demonstrates how no region is exempt from issues about water quantity or quality (or both). So in case I have not mentioned your region, don’t think you are off the hook. Sustainable water is a growing global issue. It’s your issue.

IMAGE: Little boy drinking from a water fountain. (Hannah Mentz/Corbis)