The West is facing widespread water pollution, periodic shortages, access gaps, and infrastructure failures. These problems are as much social and political as they are structural. They come from treating water as a commodity, and rivers as plumbing systems.
In order to bring basins into balance and meet community needs, we have to change the way we relate to rivers and each other. It starts with bringing more people into the water movement, and honoring their expertise.
Limited communications capacity can be a barrier, because it results in water news that is dry and technical. People tune out content that doesn’t reflect their voices or values, and therefore don’t engage in water issues impacting their communities. Without public pressure, decisionmakers often defer costly or controversial investments.