Episodes
In the quest to find clean, renewable sources of energy, we turn to a familiar method: hydroelectricity. Today, the ancient method of harnessing the power of flowing water is hitting enormous new heights. Hydroelectric dams are some of the biggest human-made structures in the world. As humans dam more and more rivers, the scale and sheer size of these structures continues to grow.   But in trying to meet our future electrical demand, are we pursuing a technology that is harming...
Published 11/23/22
It’s estimated that by 2050, we’ll have over 9 billion people on earth. To feed everyone, we will need to produce 60 per cent more food - and we'll need to grow it using less water. On this episode of What About Water? we’re looking at new technology that can make that shift possible. Jay sits down with colleague and friend Bruno Basso, an agro-ecosystem scientist at Michigan State University and the co-founder and chief scientist of CIBO Technologies. Basso walks through the remote sensing...
Published 11/09/22
By 2025, experts predict over half the world’s population will live in water-stressed areas. With a number of our freshwater resources on land receding, is it time to look to the ocean - or, rather, underneath it for fresh water? Jay sits down with Brandon Dugan, the Associate Department Head and Baker Hughes Chair in the Department of Geophysics at the Colorado School of Mines, to find out. Brandon Dugan tells us about an aquifer off the coast of New Jersey that could provide access to...
Published 10/26/22
For Nik Kowsar, civil unrest in Iran is not new. As a geologist and journalist, he's been sounding the alarm about water shortages and censorship in his home country for decades. After being arrested and jailed for one of his cartoons and receiving death threats from pro-regime Islamists, Kowsar fled Iran in 2003. Today, he is an award-winning Iranian-Canadian journalist and water issues analyst. He currently resides in Washington, D.C. where he produces and broadcasts 'Abangan; a weekly...
Published 10/12/22
Can water risk disclosure move the needle on corporate water stewardship? And what does that risk mean for our own retirement funds? In this very special episode of What About Water? - recorded on location at World Water Week - Jay sits down with Cate Lamb in Stockholm, Sweden to discuss valuing water. We hear how companies with high water-related risks affect our own bottom line, and how pensions hang in the balance when the value of those companies erodes in the face of climate change.  ...
Published 09/28/22
In the first episode of our fourth season, Jay sits down with renowned scientist and IPCC author, Virginia Burkett, to talk about technology, its pitfalls and its promises for a water-secure future.   Burkett is the Chief Scientist for Climate and Land Use Change at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), where she’s worked for over three decades. She is based in Louisiana and is an expert in global change and low-lying coastal zones. We also get an update from Jay after a busy summer and a...
Published 09/14/22
Our planet is in crisis. When it comes to water, there are many promising solutions. But in a world full of new technologies, what innovations should we pay attention to? And will they be enough?   On Season 4 of What About Water? we're diving into New Technologies, Water Realities. Host Jay Famiglietti will sit down with the experts, innovators and big-picture thinkers who are helping preserve and protect our freshwater.   Each new episode, we'll look at how human-made solutions can both...
Published 08/24/22
What happens when tensions over water reach their boiling point? In our final bonus episode of the summer season, we explore the causes of water conflicts and what we can do to stop them. We start with the Middle East, a water-scarce region where conflict brews over shared water resources. We then turn to Latin America, where migrants are spurred by climate change, and the lack of water rights in Chilé has created conflict between the government and its people. We revisit conversations with...
Published 08/17/22
In our third bonus episode of the summer season, we look back at the innovative ways people are sourcing their freshwater, from building home water systems on the Navajo Nation to engineering a state of the art wastewater treatment facility in Orange County. We hear what improvements need to be made to America's aging water infrastructure. And we look at the damage that over-engineering has done through dams and diversions, turning our attention to nature-based solutions to help restore the...
Published 07/13/22
From farmer’s fields to the high arctic, from your morning cup of coffee to a glass of wine – everything we eat and drink depends on water. In the second episode of our summer mini season, we draw from our past interviews about water scarcity and its effect on our food supply.   We take a look at last year’s drought and withered crops on the Canadian prairies, and how melting permafrost in the arctic threatens traditional knowledge about food from the land for the Inuit of Iqaluit. We hear...
Published 06/15/22
In our first mini-episode of the summer season, we turn to three guests from our past seasons to explore Indigenous ways of knowing, and to look more closely at the sacred nature of water -- how various people understand it, conserve it and co-exist with it.   Janet Pitsiulaaq Brewster shares how climate change is affecting Indigenous reconciliation efforts in Canada and what melting permafrost means for the Inuit of Iqaluit.   Deon Hassler gives hope to a new generation of Indigenous...
Published 05/18/22
This summer on What About Water? we bring you some of our most compelling interviews from the past three seasons. We're releasing four mini episodes spanning four different themes that continue to resonate in the world of water.  This special summer edition of What About Water? launches May 18, with one episode dropping each month. 
Published 05/16/22
On our final episode of Season 3, we hear how a 6th grade science fair project led to receiving the Order of Nova Scotia for youth environmentalist and clean water advocate, Stella Bowles. At just 11 years old, Stella learned about the 600 straight pipes flushing unprocessed sewage from homes directly into the LaHave river behind her home. What started as a science fair project catapulted her community - and all three levels of government - into action to clean up the LaHave. Now 18 years old...
Published 03/30/22
This week on What About Water?, we look at water infrastructure – from broken water pipes across America to the redistribution of water rights in Chilé – and what role governments play in fixing the systems that distribute our water. Newsha Ajami, Chief Development Officer for Research at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, joins us as our first return guest of the podcast. Newsha and Jay cover the state of America’s aging water systems and innovative solutions at play from 50L Homes to ...
Published 03/16/22
Coffee is one of the most widely-consumed beverages in the world. But with climate change threatening the world's two main coffee species, will that change? Coffee scientist and researcher Dr. Aaron Davis says even with rising temperatures, and more drought -- that doesn’t have to be the case. This week on What About Water? we hear why reintroducing forgotten wild coffee species will be the key to growing enough coffee in the future. In this episode, Jay learns about the professional...
Published 03/02/22
On this episode of What About Water? we’re learning from traditional knowledge.   Jay sits down with Tasha Beeds, a grassroots Indigenous academic and Water Walker.   She takes us through the origins of Water Walking - an Indigenous ceremony recognizing and connecting with water. Beeds enters into ceremony for the water - discussing what it means to raise consciousness about water as a living entity.   On the Last Word, we hear from Josée Street, a young Indigenous woman who shows how...
Published 02/16/22
On this episode of What About Water? we take a look at the state of our rising seas from space, and learn what coastal communities on the ground are doing to adapt. Jay speaks with long-time colleague Dr. Steve Nerem, a principal investigator on NASA’s Sea Level Change team.   We learn that by 2100, we could see around one meter of global sea level rise, but there is still time to stop the worst-case scenarios for future generations. On the Last Word, we hear from Matt Osler about the City...
Published 02/02/22
With climate change threatening freshwater sources, water demand across the globe is likely to increase by 20 - 30% between now and 2050. In this episode, we’re looking at two promising solutions to create clean drinking water from surprising places: our sewers and our oceans. We speak with General Manager of the Orange County Water District, Mike Markus, about debunking the “toilet to tap” fear and how turning our wastewater into clean drinking water can be a closed-loop solution to...
Published 01/19/22
Transboundary waters - the rivers, lakes, and aquifers shared by two or more countries - are found in 153 of the world’s 192 countries. They account for an estimated 60 per cent of global freshwater flow. As a critical component of our survival, water has long been a source of conflict between nations. The stakes are higher with a rapidly increasing population and threats of water scarcity. In this episode, we talk to Aaron Wolf, a trained mediator and facilitator and Professor of Geography...
Published 01/05/22
We’re already reaping the financial repercussions of climate change. Four Twenty Seven projects that by 2040, roughly $78 trillion, equivalent to about 57% of the world’s current GDP, will be exposed to flooding. On this episode of What About Water? we ask the question: can market incentives align with climate priorities? And how do we hold big corporations accountable? We speak with Mindy Lubber, CEO and president of Ceres, a sustainability nonprofit driving climate solutions through a...
Published 12/08/21
For centuries, we have built big dams, reservoirs, and levees. Humans have steered and shaped the flow of water to irrigate deserts, prevent floods and access groundwater. But through big engineering, we’ve also created breaks in the natural flow of freshwater from source to sea. The good news is: we can look back to nature for solutions.  In this episode we speak with Sandra Postel, one of the world’s leading freshwater experts, about how solutions rooted in nature - like cover cropping...
Published 11/24/21
It’s no surprise growing food uses lots of water. One cow needs anywhere from 3 to 30 L of water a day. It takes 3200 L of water to grow one pound of lentils. In this episode we ask, what do we do when there's not enough water to feed our food? Here in Canada, 2021 made history as prairie farmers experienced one of the worst droughts Western North America has seen in the last 1200 years. After three years of reduced precipitation, prolonged dry spells change everything from the crops...
Published 11/10/21
In this episode, we visit the city of Iqaluit in Canada’s northern territory of Nunavut, which is battling a water crisis on multiple fronts. This month, residents were alerted not to drink or cook with water due to contamination. But for years, the city’s main water supply - Lake Geraldine - has experienced dropping levels. And overall, climate change is impacting everything from the city’s water supply, to thawing permafrost. Janet Pitsiulaaq Brewster served as Deputy Mayor of Iqaluit,...
Published 10/27/21
On this episode: Katharine Hayhoe’s new book, Saving Us: A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World, is a practical and compassionate guide for talking about climate change across differences. Combining her research with thousands of conversations with everyday people, Hayhoe shows us how shared values can activate ordinary citizens to become climate change champions. Hayhoe joins us for our first episode of the third season to discuss reframing the climate...
Published 10/13/21