65 episodes

"What About Water? with Jay Famiglietti" connects water science with the stories that bring about solutions, adaptation, and action for the world's water realities. Presented by Arizona State University and the University of Saskatchewan, and hosted by ASU Professor and USask Professor Emeritus Jay Famiglietti.

What About Water? with Jay Famiglietti Jay Famiglietti

    • Science
    • 4.7 • 18 Ratings

"What About Water? with Jay Famiglietti" connects water science with the stories that bring about solutions, adaptation, and action for the world's water realities. Presented by Arizona State University and the University of Saskatchewan, and hosted by ASU Professor and USask Professor Emeritus Jay Famiglietti.

    Drilling Deeper Won't Fix This

    Drilling Deeper Won't Fix This

    People in the lower Colorado River basin are now witnessing drastic cuts to their allotments. In many cases, developers find alternate sources of water by drilling into underground aquifers. But in places like Pinal County, Arizona, that groundwater is already becoming scarce. We hear from Stephen Q. Miller, who sits on both the Pinal County Board of Supervisors and the board for the Central Arizona Pipeline. Without sufficient water for crops, and facing some of the highest temperatures on record, he says farmers in his area will fallow up to 70 per cent of their land this year.
     
    As Phoenix and its outlying suburbs start limiting development because of water shortages, those who stay put rely increasingly on wells and groundwater.
     
    Arizona State University professor Kathryn Sorensen explains why consuming water from deeper wells is one solution – but it’s not ideal. The ancient freshwater underneath much of Arizona will never be replenished during our lifetimes. With high-tech cloud computing centers and some of the world’s biggest microchip manufacturers expanding their reach — and water use — we look at the desert future of the southwest. 
     
    With increasing water scarcity across the lower Colorado River basin states, we look at the technology of the future – and the role of cloud computing centers. How much water do they consume, and what does that mean for people in water-stressed areas? Amazon Web Services has set a goal to become water-positive by the year 2030, and we hear how the company is recycling and re-using water, with Will Hewes, AWS’ Global Lead on Water Sustainability. 
     
    Outside Phoenix, Intel Corporation has been a presence for more than four decades, with two recent expansions of its 700-acre campus in the desert. Those expansions allow Intel to manufacture more of the microchips that we rely on in modern life, powering everything from cell phones to automobiles. We hear from Intel vice-president and chief sustainability officer Todd Brady. He says the public-private partnership Intel struck years ago with the city of Chandler, AZ means a more sustainable, predictable supply of recycled water. 
     
    Water scarcity is also having a profound effect on the desert south’s political landscape. In this episode, we hear from Kathleen Ferris, a senior research fellow at ASU’s Kyl Center for Water Policy, and we check in with Patrick Adams, water policy advisor to Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs. 
     
    Our last word in this episode goes to the University of Arizona’s Kathy Jacobs, director of the Center for Climate Adaptation Science and Solutions. 
     

    • 55 min
    The Colorado River's Alfalfa Problem

    The Colorado River's Alfalfa Problem

    The meat and dairy industries are some of the biggest water users in the American West, thanks to one of cows' favorite foods – alfalfa. As aridification continues across the American southwest, water is becoming far more scarce on the Colorado River. A critical source of water for roughly 40 million Americans, we look at why so much of the Colorado River's freshwater goes toward growing water-intensive hay crops, and at what can be done to significantly scale back consumptive use in the future.
     
    In this episode, we hear from people who've traveled from around the world to see the Hoover Dam. With white bathtub rings marking a long-past high water mark, Lake Mead is severely overdrawn. Together with Lake Powell, America's two biggest man-made reservoirs are losing water faster than ever as cities, towns and farms withdraw their legal allocations.
     
    To find out why farmers in this region keep growing such water-intensive crops, our producer Megan Myscofski meets up with alfalfa farmer Larry Cox. They tour his farmland near Brawley, in California's Imperial Valley. With no potable water, Cox's home, farm and livelihood depend entirely on his farmland's senior water rights from the Colorado River. Leaving the fields fallow is not an option.
     
    Jay then sits down with Dan Putnam, an expert on alfalfa and other forage crops at the University of California, Davis, and Sarah Porter, director of Arizona State University's Kyl Center for Water Policy. They discuss why it's so difficult legally and economically to uproot water-intensive crops such as alfalfa, and they bring up solutions to get ‘more crop out of each drop’. They also discuss what cities and urban areas will have to do, to ensure there's enough water to support everyone in the lower Colorado River basin. 

    • 48 min
    World Water Day 2023 with Autumn Peltier

    World Water Day 2023 with Autumn Peltier

    When Autumn Peltier was eight, she learned the tap water on a neighbouring reserve wasn’t safe to drink, or even to use for hand-washing. That injustice triggered her decade-long advocacy campaign for safe drinking water. She made headlines as a 12 year-old, admonishing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at an Assembly of First Nations event for the choices his government had made for her people. 
     
    In this bonus episode for World Water Day 2023, Peltier and Jay discuss the way her life shifted, as she started campaigning for clean water. Peltier also shares what it was like to shoot her documentary The Water Walker, and lets us in on her plans for the future now that she’s finished high school. 
     
    On a day devoted to improving the way we manage, consume, and use water, the message is ‘Be The Change’ – something Peltier takes to heart. Two billion people still live without clean water, and the United Nations says member countries have fallen behind on their goal to bring everyone safe water and sanitation by the year 2030.
     
    “The message is so much more powerful and so much more stronger when it's coming from a young person,” said Peltier, the chief water commissioner for the Anishinabek Nation. “That's when you know something is wrong, and something has to be done.”
     

    • 18 min
    Will Sarni: Can We Tech Our Way Out of Wicked Water Problems?

    Will Sarni: Can We Tech Our Way Out of Wicked Water Problems?

    Can we really “tech” our way out of freshwater shortages, scarcity, and pollution?
    In our Season 4 finale, we’re asking the big question of the season – will new water technology be enough to solve wicked water problems? Will Sarni joins Jay for a look back at the bright ideas and inventions we’ve heard about this year, sharing his view on technology’s ability to solve problems around water quality and scarcity. 
     
    Jay and Will discuss what a “disruptor” like Uber could do for the water sector and what it will take to get the public sector to respond to innovation. And if you’ve ever wondered why piping water from a wet part of the country to areas hit by drought is a hot-button issue, you’ll want to stick around for our last ‘Ask Jay’ segment of the season.
     
    Will Sarni is the CEO of Water Foundry and the founder and general partner of Water Foundry Ventures, a technology venture fund focused on addressing water scarcity, quality and equitable access to water. Will is a podcaster, an internationally recognized thought leader on water strategy and innovation, and the author of numerous books. You can check out his children’s book, Water, I Wonder here. 
     

    • 30 min
    What Lurks Beneath: How Robots Can Save City Plumbing with Vanessa Speight

    What Lurks Beneath: How Robots Can Save City Plumbing with Vanessa Speight

    In this episode, we’re going underground, undersea and into your water and sewer pipelines with science fiction’s favorite problem-solvers…robots!
    Jay sits down with Vanessa Speight, a professor of Integrated Water Systems at the University of Sheffield, to learn how new, spider-like robots have the potential to locate and fix leaks in aging water pipes. 
     
    Jay and Vanessa discuss when we might actually see these pipe-traveling bots in action and what they can realistically do for developing nations, where drinking water loss can be as much as 70 per cent due to aging and unmaintained systems. 
     
    In our Last Word, professor Lucian Busoniu tells us about SeaClear, a project funded by the European Union, building the first fleet of autonomous robots to collect litter from the ocean floor. 
     

    • 26 min
    An AI Fix for Aging Water Systems with Seyi Fabode

    An AI Fix for Aging Water Systems with Seyi Fabode

    On this episode of What About Water? an entrepreneur in Austin, Texas turns his dishwasher sensor into a tech startup that’s feeding water utilities snapshots of their water quality in real time.
     
    Jay sits down with Seyi Fabode, the CEO and co-founder of Varuna, to discuss how his company’s cloud-based software is helping cities keep track of their drinking water quality by the minute, allowing them to respond to spills, contamination, and fluctuations before it’s too late. 
     
    Jay and Seyi dream up a new tech idea together and trace Seyi’s entrepreneurial roots from his childhood in Nigeria to his post-grad in the UK. They discuss the $100,000 investment from the Google for Startups Black Founder Fund that opened new doors for Varuna, and what needs to change to get more black-owned businesses like Seyi’s off the ground. 

    At the end of the episode Jay answers a few questions about the Tri-State Water Wars and water privatization from our listener Mark, who’s based in Atlanta, Georgia.
    Got a question for Jay? Write to him at ideas@whataboutwater.org and you may hear your question in an upcoming episode. Voice memos like Mark’s are also welcome!

    • 27 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
18 Ratings

18 Ratings

PrairieEarth ,

Interesting, fun, and relevant - Subscribed!

Just what I’ve been looking for - a fun podcast that keeps me informed of the most pressing issues of water and sustainability today, all in a format that fits into my morning routine.

The issues and guests featured on the show have all been interesting so far, with broad appeal whether from the perspective of an informed citizen or as someone interested in science and hydrology. The host keeps the discussion moving, with just enough humour to keep the discussion lively while staying on point.

This podcast always leaves me with something interesting to think about - definitely worth following.

Sleepless Grad Student ,

Give me more!!

The perfect balance of entertaining and informative!! Love the "future jay” bits!

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