90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
Here and Now with Robin Young
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Friday, July 20, 2012

Do We Need To Rethink Our Relationship With Water?


More than half of the country is baking in drought conditions. A stunning 60 percent of the lower 48 states are now affected by the extreme conditions, and the Department of Agriculture is extending aid to an additional 39 counties designated as primary natural disaster areas — that brings the total to nearly 1,300 counties in 29 states.

The drought is expected to affects food prices, shipping and transportation costs, and local energy supply.

Alex Prud’homme, author of “The Ripple Effect” explains that Americans have to rethink their relationship with water, becoming smarter consumers. Few people know, he points out, that it takes more than 900 gallons of water to produce a pair of jeans, and 3 liters of water to produce one liter of bottled water.


  • Alex Prud’homme, author of “The Ripple Effect”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Barnabyss

    I’m sorry 990 gallons of water may be involved in the production of a pair of blue jeans, but those 990 gallons go in to producing much more than 1 pair of jeans.

    • Karyn, Here and Now Producer

      Hi Barnabyss, It does in fact take over 900 gallons of water to produce a single pair (i.e. each pair) of blue jeans. The figure was reported by our guest, but is corroborated by other researchers as well. Here’s a link that shows how much water is needed for a variety of products/activities.
      –Karyn, Here and Now producer

  • Djvhp

    Re water usage. I used to work in a food service facility and observed incredible waste of water on a daily basis. Instead of properly thawing frozen products in the refrigerator for 2-3 days (usually chicken) the product would be removed from tfe freezer and subjected to a continuous flow of cold water until thawed and then prepped. Planning ahead would have saved thousands of gallons of water. If people had to hike a couple of miles down to the river and lug back a 5 gallon jug they would take more care of this vital and ultimately finite resource.
    David Vieira
    Hyde Park

  • http://www.facebook.com/erika.nulan Erika Nulan

    Your guest seemed like he was more interested in making listeners feel bad about ruining the earth than offering solutions.  He mentioned the gallons of water that go into making blues jeans but didn’t offer a less water intensive fabric.  Should we just go without pants for lack a water conservative option?  I suspect if he had qualified his statement about the water used to make a liter of bottled water and compared it to water used to make the same amount of tap water the difference would not have been so great.  

  • SDshan

    Great piece; inspring.

  • Shepard145

    Water is discussed
    as though it is “used” and vanishes from the planet.  Clearly this guy does not know the difference
    between oil and water.  Where does he
    think it goes??? 


    This show was a
    classic example of what happens when an uneducated host attempts to interview a
    pretentious eco dufus with no idea what questions to ask or when to call him on
    the endless nonsensical drivel.


    I notice you did
    not spend much time talking about the drought on the southeast that plagued Atlanta for a few years …maybe
    because they are closer to flood stage now!  The record 2011 snow falls in the Rockies are ignored but  2012 is the worst “snow drought” since way way
    back in the distant 1980’s”.  Yea, it’s still earth – weather changes as it ALWAYS HAS. 


    This is all about
    the corrupt NPR narrative pushing human controlled global climate fraud on
    behalf of their democrat eco masters. 

    The listeners would be much better served by programming that is fair and balanced rather then dominated by NPR’s need to require every piece match this weeks government talking points.

Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

August 29 Comment

World Championship Tug-Of-War Is ‘A Thing Of Beauty’

This weekend's competition in Wisconsin is a bit more intense than it was in your grade school gym class.

August 29 Comment

Repelling Mosquitoes With A Natural Sticky Patch

The Kite Patch releases odors that block the bug's carbon dioxide receptors, sending them in another direction.

August 28 Comment

Catching Up With The Polyphonic Spree

The choral rock band out of Dallas, Texas, has been thrilling audiences with its live performances for over a decade.

August 28 5 Comments

‘Enormous’ Growth Of Ocean Garbage Patch

The oceanographer who discovered the floating island of trash in 1997 says he's shocked by how much it's grown.