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Charles Fishman

www.thebigthirst.com

Charles Fishman is an award-winning investigative journalist and New York Times bestselling author who has spent the last four years traveling the world to understand and explain water issues.

His recently released book about water, "The Big Thirst," has been widely praised by sources as varied as The Washington Post and the science journal Nature for its captivating storytelling and its incisive explanation of water, water issues, and our rapidly changing relationship to water.

Fishman continues to report, write and speak about water issues. Contact him at: cnfish@mindspring.com

13 Things You Probably Don’t Know About the U.S. Water System (But Should)

  It’s been a rough year for the U.S. water system already, and it’s only summer. Two U.S. cities (Charleston, West Virginia, and Toledo, Ohio) have gone for days with no safe water service. The nation’s largest reservoir is lower than it’s ever been. The nation’s largest state is in the worst drought ever recorded.…

In San Diego, Recycled Water Quickly Wins Fans (And They Don’t Even Have It Yet)

  Today, 73 percent of the residents of San Diego favor purifying wastewater and adding the cleaned water back into the potable water supply. That’s an astonishing leap from 2005, when only 28 percent favored re-using water to extend the drinking water supply. It’s even more astonishing because San Diego famously considered adding re-use water…

How Can a Drought This Big Sneak up on Us?

  Weather forecasting has gotten a lot better in the U.S. in the last 20 years — today, the four-day forecast is as accurate as the two-day forecast was in 1988. And storm forecasting — both for tropical storms, like Isaac, and winter storms — is also dramatically better. But seasonal forecasting remains poor, and the…

San Antonio’s Popular River Walk Relies on Recycled Water

  I love a good sewage treatment plant. The wastewater treatment plant of San Antonio, Texas, USA, resembles its sister plants around the world: a wide expanse of deep, in-ground concrete tanks filled with brown liquid. There’s a faint organic odor, not unpleasant, and noise from big pumps and motors that are moving city-size quantities…

Smart People Discover Water, & That Could Kick-Start the Blue Revolution

  Across the U.S., three major research universities have decided that we need big leaps of progress in water — in water technology, water access, and water management. Those three universities — the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Fresno State, and Michigan State — think they can make a difference. Imagine, for a…

U.S. Bottled Water Sales Are Booming (Again) Despite Opposition

  Despite organized anti-bottled-water campaigns across the country and a noisy debate about bottled water’s environmental impact, Americans are buying more bottled water than ever. In 2011, total bottled water sales in the U.S. hit 9.1 billion gallons — 29.2 gallons of bottled water per person, according to sales figures from Beverage Marketing Corp. The…

How a Lost Rope Swing Captures Everything Wrong with Water Policy

  Although water is always with us — sitting on the desk in a bottle, splashing from the kitchen tap, at-the-ready to be flushed in the toilet — water problems often seem remote. Drought…somewhere else. And how many of us are farmers, anyway? The lettuce and tomatoes always appear in the supermarket. Fading aquifers…but who can envision…

In Honor of World Water Day, Meet a Guy Who Uses Enough Water for a City of 40,000 People

  Laurie Arthur is a farmer in the heart of Australia’s bread basket, the basin of the Murray River, who was kind enough, when I was trying to understand water, to explain how water works for farmers. Arthur lives out in the wide open country east of Adelaide and north of Melbourne — flat, irrigated farmland…

Unfortunately, You Can’t Get Your Water over WiFi

    In the last two years, we have spent a huge sum of money on infrastructure — one kind of infrastructure. Infrastructure — that’s the stuff we know is important but unsexy. The asparagus of investment. But these infrastructure numbers are anything but unsexy: In two years, we’ve spent $57.4 billion on this one…

Start the Weekend Right: Visit Miami (With Just a Click)

  I grew up in Miami, Florida, which back in those days called itself “The Magic City.” It was, for a lot of us, the city by the bay — I learned to swim in Miami, I learned to canoe there, and to sail, and I snorkled my first coral reef just south of Miami. It…

When It Comes to Water, We’re All Maya Now

    It’s possible that the stunning Maya civilization — with mastery of mathematics and astronomy, farming, water management, pyramid building and city planning — was undone by summer rain. Not enough summer rain. Undone, in fact, by exactly the kind of rainfall changes we ourselves are starting to experience — small shifts in rainfall that…

Bottled Water Is Silly — But So Is Banning It

  I remember the moment when the silliness of bottled water became vividly clear to me. I was standing in the factory in San Pellegrino, Italy, at the foot of the Italian Alps, where San Pellegrino water is sealed in those shapely green bottles. Leave aside that the glass bottles weigh more than the water…

Even Your Evian Was Pee at Some Point

  A couple nights ago, my family ate dinner at a restaurant. The silverware we used was in someone else’s mouth at lunch — those forks and spoons right on some stranger’s tongue. Last week, I stayed at a hotel. The linens I slept on, the towels I used after my shower, had been against…

Ireland to Charge for Water for the First Time

  If you’re one of the 4.5 million people who live in Ireland, you pay no water bill. Municipal water is free, no matter how much you use. And no one knows how much you use — not even you. Ireland has no water meters and no water bills. In fact, Ireland is the only country…