Deeper than Water — Infographics from the Columbia Water Center

In honor of World Water Day, the Columbia Water Center is releasing a video and two infographics about its work.

In “Deeper than Water”, director Gabe Askew evokes the preciousness of water through a the stunning images of jewels in an unfolding box, suggesting that if we are to truly care for our most valuable resource, we must go beyond digging to find the right crops and planting methods, design more intelligent infrastructure, prioritize ecology and invest in climate science.


No place in the world more clearly embodies the most challenging and diverse aspects of the global water crisis than India, the world second most populous nation. The story of water in India is on the one hand a distressing parable about good intentions and unintended consequences of a nation that averted famine by mining its groundwater–and on the other a story of hope, in which cooperation and bold thinking offers real hope for balance resource use and improving livelihoods.


“The Story of Water in India” outlines the food/water/energy crisis in India, and presents different solutions the Columbia Water Center is pursuing in the country. For more information about the Columbia Water Center’s work in India, check out our India project pages. Далее

Water Filtration in the Present – Whole House Water Filter Systems

Despite government regulations and incredible advancements in water technology, the water issuing from home taps is still quite contaminated. Although municipal water treatment plants are intended to provide clean, healthy water to all city residents, such plants must work with heavily contaminated water. The water contains disease-bearing pathogens, pesticide chemicals, and industrial sludge, to name only a few of modern water contaminants.


City officials must provide the healthiest water to municipal residents which modern technology affords. Considering the dirty water with which they have to work, this task can be quite daunting. Disinfection and disease control remain the main goals of such water treatment plants. Consequently, city residents receive chlorinated, and often fluoridated, water. Chlorine has been linked to asthma and other respiratory diseases, and excessive fluoride intake can lead to yellowed teeth, dental problems, and other serious health problems for young children. Далее

Water, Water Everywhere, But Nary a Drop to Drink

It is a unique challenge of our generation that many in the developing world have cellular phones and TVs, but lack reliable access to water. Odd, perhaps, given that water is marketed as essential for life, a human right, and heart rending pictures of women and children walking miles to fetch water are routinely flashed to tug at everyone’s heart strings.

Flood irrigation in India. More efficient use of water for agriculture is key to protecting and conserving water supplies. Photo: Jeremy Hinsdale

Flood irrigation in India. More efficient use of water for agriculture is key to protecting and conserving water supplies. Photo: Jeremy Hinsdale

In many developing countries growing populations and limited investment in infrastructure are leading to declining access to water. Even in the United States, the impact of droughts on urban supply is larger today than ever before, as witnessed in the South in recent years. Далее

Pharmaceuticals in the Water Supply: Is this a threat?

Recent studies by the United States Government Accountability Office and the Environmental Protection Agency found numerous instances of pharmaceuticals in drinking water. According to the GAO, a “study focused on untreated source water used by public drinking water systems” found that 53 of 74 sites tested had at least one pharmaceutical present, and in 2010 the EPA showed that 54 active pharmaceutical ingredients and 10 metabolites, the product of biological changes to a chemical, had been found in treated drinking water.

Pharmaceuticals can enter the water supply in a variety of ways. Debates continue over how dangerous this is. Source: GAO

Pharmaceuticals can enter the water supply in a variety of ways. Debates continue over how dangerous this is. Source: GAO

An earlier study from 2005 by the EPA and the Geographical Survey states that 40% of water was contaminated with nonprescription pharmaceuticals, and it has been reported that of the 8 of the 12 most commonly occurring chemicals in drinking water are estrogenic hormones. Далее

The Clean Water Act of 1972

As the 20th century progressed, more and more metropolitan areas in the world found it necessary to install water treatment plants in order to provide clean, healthy water to their residents. It became a general principle in the developed world that every person had the right to clean, pure water. There was no universal standard or definition for clean, pure water. Many city officials, as they noted the disinfecting power of chlorine, believed that providing disinfected, yet untreated, water to city residents was their only responsibility.


Environmental concerns rose in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s that would greatly affect the definition of clean, pure water and the responsibility of the government to provide such water. In the early 1970s, environmental lobbyists in the United States began to see results in their fight for the environment. Далее