Test Your Knowledge of Chasing Water

Brian Richter (President at Sustainable Waters, adjunct professor at the University of Virginia, and Director of Global Freshwater Strategies for The Nature Conservancy) authored a wonderfully interesting book called Chasing Water: A Guide for Moving from Scarcity to Sustainability - Island Press, 2014.

Test your water knowledge by taking this fun quiz with five questions:

1. What is the last state in the U.S. to take up arms against another state over water rights?

2. How much money did Texas lose in revenues from the 2011 drought?

3. How much money is needed to upgrade drinking water systems in the U.S. over the next twenty years?

4. About how much Colorado River water is consumed by agriculture?

5. What is the easiest, most cost efficient way we can increase water supplies or reduce consumptive use?

Before I provide the answers that will hopefully 'wet your appetite' to read this book, many important reflections and impacts come from this book that are really helpful to me. These include Brian Richter's optimism that we all can and must do our part to make a difference, that we cannot leave our future up to dysfunctional organizations including governments, and we can learn from many individuals who've successfully dealt with issues including extreme droughts in Australia, environmental change in China, and improved irrigation technology in Israel.

Ok, now for the answers to the quiz:

1. In 1934, the Arizona governor sent 100-man state militia to stop California from completing Parker Dam on the Colorado River. The Interior Secretary intervened to enable federal funding for irrigation that created the Central Arizona Project in exchange for Arizona signing the Colorado River Compact in 1944. 

2. Texas lost an estimated $9 billion due to the 2011 drought mostly from losses on irrigated farms.

3. An estimated $384 billion is needed to repair the drinking water infrastructure in the US according to the EPA in 2013. Of course, in my opinion the amount could be much higher after revelations about issues like the lead pipe problems in Flint, Michigan which is an issue in many locations.

4. About 50% of the water taken from the Colorado River is consumed by agriculture.

5. Given the inefficiencies in using water by agriculture, such as with flood irrigation or growing unsustainable crops like cotton, we can make the biggest impact by helping to change farm practices such as by using drip irrigation and respecting the capacity of our natural environment to support us.