Waterblogged.info’s New Year’s Resolutions!

Like the “Fifty things to do before you die” lists, New Year’s resolutions are driven by a nagging, narcissistic dissatisfaction that feels an awful lot like guilt. But the “fifty things” lists are more ambitious than the typical beginning-of-the-year vows to go to the gym five times a week and organize your iTunes library. They’re usually based on the premise that you’re, if not affluent, at least comfortably middle-class, and are convinced that no life is well lived until one has, for example, scaled K2, jammed on a violin over the Hungarian minor scale with a blown-away Yo Yo Ma, taught English to the grateful inhabitants of Lesotho, made perfect soft-boiled eggs at several different altitudes, and impressed residents of Beijing with flawless Mandarin.

Of course, the must-do lists of the billion or so poor of the planet are no doubt less ambitious but more immediate: Get access to clean water before I die, eat before I die, get decent medical care before I die, etc. Everything’s relative.

This year, I’ve decided to come up with a hybrid of the two sorts of list, water related of course: Ten New Year’s Resolutions to Do Before I Die. Rather than just bore the reader with my self-involved and possibly grandiose goals, I’ve linked each item to a compelling–and in some cases fascinating–bit of information about everyone’s favorite sugar-free beverage.

  1. Collaborate with Dr. Peter Gleick to put a stop to the gargantuan, insane, destined-to-fail desalination project moving relentlessly forward in Southern California.
  2. Help Matt Damon move mountains.
  3. Get myself appointed Obama’s special peace envoy to broker settlements to supposedly imminent water wars.
  4. Work feverishly with NASA scientists to figure out how to efficiently transport moon water to Earth.
  5. Save the salmon!
  6. Fish for Asian carp in the Great Lakes.
  7. Work with Willie Nelson to develop an iPhone app version of his home water-from-air system.
  8. Jet-ski the Golden Age Lake!
  9. Join up with Food & Water Watch. (This may be the only attainable goal on this list.)
  10. Not go for months without posting.

Waterblogged.info’s summer reading list, pt. 2

Fun at the beach

By now you’ve devoured the five books that we recommended in Waterblogged.info’s summer reading list, Part 1. We imagine you staring out at the white beach and azure water and watching fellow vacationers as they swim, fish, snorkel, boat, water ski, jet ski, surf, sail, dig for clams, sing off-key to folk songs they wouldn’t be caught dead listening to, watch for whales and screech maniacally when they hallucinate one, and make languorous love on the cool sand at the water’s edge as the tidewater gently and rhythmically laps at their feet. We imagine you thinking, “Now what the hell am I going to do?”

Waterblogged.info rescues you from the dog-day doldrums with part 2 of our summer reading list. All available at Powell Books.

Water Follies

From the publisher’s comment: [Author Robert Glennon]. . .illustrate(s) the science of hydrology and the legal aspects of water use and conflicts. . .(and offers. . .stories — ranging from Down East Maine to San Antonio’s River Walk to Atlanta’s burgeoning suburbs — that clearly illustrate the array of problems caused by groundwater pumping. Each episode poses a conflict of values that reveals the complexity of how and why we use water. These poignant and sometimes perverse tales tell of human foibles including greed, stubbornness, and, especially, the unlimited human capacity to ignore reality. A great talk by Glennon on this YouTube video posted by the California Colloquium on Water.

Cadillac Desert

From publisher’s comments: Newly updated, this timely history of the struggle to discover and control water in the American West is a tale of rivers diverted and damned, political corruption and intrigue, billion-dollar battles over water rights, and economic and ecological disaster. Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award.

The Water Atlas

If a picture’s worth a thousand words, a well-made graphic–map, chart, table, or graph–may be worth, ummm. . . 50,000 words? From the publisher’s comments: Plentiful maps, graphs and tables illustrate the cycle of precipitation and condensation, the percentage of cropland watered by irrigation around the world and the way increasing use of chemicals in agriculture is destroying freshwater sources. A section called ‘Re-Shaping the Natural World’ examines the destructive role of dams and other water systems, while another section looks at the potential for international conflict over scarce water resources in regions such as the already volatile Middle East. [Published in 2004; some info dated, no doubt. Ed.]

Design for Water

Breaking from our long-standing tradition of simply whining about water problems, Waterblogged.info points you to a collection of diy alternative water collection methods. Publisher’s notes: In addition to rainwater, there are several affordable and accessible alternate sources, including cooling tower bleed-off water, air conditioning condensate, gray water, and fog collection. Design for Water is geared to providing those making development decisions and guidelines with the information they need to set up passive harvesting techniques. The book will especially appeal to engineers, landscape architects, municipal decision-makers, developers, and landowners.

Not a Drop to Drink

Hey everybody, let’s all agree that, from this date forward, nobody can use “Water, water, everywhere,” or “Not a drop to drink,” as a title for an article or book about water. Okay? More concise than some of the other overviews of water woes, this is a good introduction and offers potential activists advice on how to take action. From the publisher’s comments: In this straightforward, story-driven book, Ken Midkiff talks to crusty ranchers in Topeka, suited lawyers in Atlanta, and smooth-talking politicians in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. Using regional and national case studies, he analyzes and presents the roots of the problem, and then says what we must do to solve it. [Emphasis ours. Ed.]

Waterblogged.info’s autoreply

Hello water lovers,

The Waterblogged.info team is out of the office until Thursday, July 24. We’ve split for our annual team-building getaway up the California coast, where we will not talk, write, or even think about water for the entire time. (Actually, we’ll continue to drink it, and due to popular demand, shower with it.) We’ll be convening at a beautiful remote retreat center, miles from any internet access–totally and blissfully offline. (Click on the image to see why John C. Dvorak may need a getaway.)

If you have an urgent need to dog-paddle in fresh water-related content, please contact one of the following reliable sources for intriguing, compelling, and, if you’re anything like the gloomy Gusses over here at Waterblogged.info, depressing reading. (If you’re blessed with a sunny disposition and just here for a good time, read Wacky Water, an article from the New Scientist, and find out why water has to be weird.)

Thanks for your continued interest.

The Waterblogged.info editorial team

From Great Lakes Law, the blog maintained by Great Lakes legal expert, Professor Noah Hall

Big bottled water fights in small towns across America

Learn why you may not be able to play keepers with captured rainwater in this tacky tale of wacky water bureaucrats gone wild. It was written by Daniel Fitzgerald for the Denver Post, and posted by the Web water guru, Michael Campana, who is, in his words, “. . .an inveterate, unrepentant, water wonk. . .” and, by the way, “. . .President-for-Life and Supreme High Armed Forces Commander of the Republic of Campanastan.”

Can You Own The Rain?

Thinking about relocating to the Sunshine State? Read this Time Magazine article before you start packing. Posted at WaterCrunch, accessible and always on tap.

Is Florida the Sunset State?