Liquid Assets

As I’ve mentioned before, water conservation and water rights have always interested me since it’s an important issue when you grow up on an island.

And I’ve grown more concerned about the world’s water supply since 2003 when I read Blue Gold: The Fight to Stop the Corporate Theft of the World’s Water by Maude Barlow and Tony Clarke.

So it’s been interesting to observe the growing public concern about water.

The current online debate on The Economist’s website focuses on water; Proposition: “Water, as a scarce resource, should be priced according to its market value.”

The October 23, 2008 MIT Enterprise Forum Global Broadcast is titled “From Soft Drinks to Real Estate: How a Looming Water Crisis Affects Our World and How to Optimize the Business Opportunity” and will discuss:

  • How is the Water Crisis impacting businesses broadly?
  • What is the impact on key industries such as real-estate development and agri-business?
  • How does the cost of water impact us as residents and fellow members in a business community?
  • How does the cost of water impact the cost of goods from hamburgers to t-shirts?
  • How are new technologies being used to mitigate the crisis?
  • Where do business opportunities lie to optimize a looming crisis as profitable prevention practices?

And on Sunday, I watched a ninety-minute documentary on my local PBS station, Liquid Assets: The Story of Our Water Infrastructure.

Liquid Assets is a public media and outreach initiative produced by Penn State Public Broadcasting to inform the nation about the critical role our water infrastructure plays in protecting health and promoting economic prosperity and explores the history, engineering, political, and economic challenges of our water infrastructure, and engages communities in local discussions about public water and wastewater issues.

I highly recommend watching this documentary, whether you are a water expert or just an everyday person whose only recently been interested in water conservation and water rights.

Here are some discussion questions suggested by the producers:

Local Issues

  • What issues in the documentary are similar to the issues in your community?
  • What are the public health or safety issues that can affect your community as a result of problems with the water infrastructure?
  • Has your local economy been affected by shortfalls in your water infrastructure?
  • How will increases in the rate structure be received by consumers?

Infrastructure Maintenance and Repair

  • Who is responsible for sustaining your community’s water resources? What questions would you like to ask them?
  • What is your local watershed?
  • What steps are being taken to protect it?
  • What other communities share this watershed?
  • Have the local water systems been inspected?
  • When will the water systems in your community need to be replaced?
  • Does your community have a plan to rehabilitate and repair its water infrastructure?
  • How will your community pay for infrastructure improvements?
  • How will your community pay for infrastructure improvements? Federal, state, local governments?
  • Private water companies? Increases in rates? Local tax allocations? Other options?

Community Problem Solving

  • What do you believe is the most pressing water issue in your community?
  • What can be done on the local level to solve the community challenges?
  • What individuals and groups need to come together to achieve results?
  • What is the first step in bringing these groups together?
  • How can communities in the same watershed share their ideas?

Click here to view the trailer for Quicktime or here to view it for Windows Media Player.

And on Monday, I watched the Jane Seymour narrated documentary The American Southwest: Are We Running Dry?; click here to watch a promotional Quicktime video or click here to see when it will air on your local PBS station. You can also view a “call to action” video here.

Everywhere you turn it seems more and more people are sounding the alarm about water.

I’ve got to make time to read Marc Reisner’s Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water (click here to read my posts related to this book), Ken Midkiff’s Not a Drop to Drink: America’s Water Crisis (and What You Can Do) (click here to read a post about this book), and Paul Simon’s Tapped Out: The Coming World Crisis in Water and What We Can Do About It.

And any other books you might recommend?

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One response to “Liquid Assets

  1. Pingback: The Big Necessity by Rose George « Adventures in Reading

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