State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

Michelle Ho: In a Land of Plenty, Big Water Problems

Michelle Ho grew up in Australia, the driest inhabited continent, with an appreciation for the value of having a clean glass of water to drink. Now, she conducts research for the Columbia Water Center on America’s water systems—specifically the long-term history of water availability through river systems and aquifers. The United States has a well-developed system of dams, reservoirs, levees and other infrastructure that keeps us relatively well-watered. But there are problems, from the Oroville Dam spillway failure in California to lead contamination in Flint, Mich. The aging of our infrastructure points to the need for better maintenance and long-term planning.

In the latest in our video series about Earth Institute researchers, Ho says that while climate change certainly deserves our attention, we need to get moving on even more fundamental issues with our water systems.

See more in the series here.


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