Engulfed by the intoxicating aroma of coffee beans, we stand in line in cafés, hoping to jump-start our mornings with a caffeine jolt and a sugar rush. At this base of this strange concoction—coffee—is water.
WaterFootprint.org estimates that growing, transporting, and processing the coffee plant requires 140 liters of water. (That’s almost 37 gallons!) When we drink coffee, we are responsible for the water that makes it possible for this hot, energizing beverage to reach our cups each morning.
Every part of our world begins with water, but so often we take it for granted.
We depend on water to survive—as has every single person who has ever lived, and as does every other species on the planet. This truth is both humbling and unifying. We drink water, we’re made of water, and we bathe in water. We use water to dispose of our waste, to irrigate our crops, and to create electricity.
The world’s most prosperous cities have formed along the banks of great rivers, and civilizations throughout history have risen and fallen on the tides of their water fortunes. Water makes possible every fountain, every swimming pool, and every ocean, river, and lake. It is the subject of scientific study, and anthropogenic inquiry, and seemingly meandering blog posts.
All of which is to say, we’re here to write about water.
We’re here to write about how we think about water, and how we use water in our everyday lives, and how majestic water is. We also want to think about what we can do to help mitigate the water crisis and become water stewards. Because there is a massive worldwide water crisis.
As Earth’s population grows and global temperatures rise, we are rapidly and unsustainably depleting and polluting our water resources. The rate of groundwater withdrawals is unprecedentedly high around the world. At the same time, we live in an era of globalization, and we cannot think of water problems as unique to one country or region. They are and must be a shared concern.
44 Water Street is our imaginary water café, a space to think about this international water crisis within a local context. We want to share our own observations and ideas about water, backed up by context, photos, research, and the occasional bad pun. We hope to inspire you to think differently about everyday water use by providing you with stories, tips, links, and ramblings.
You don’t need to have any sort of background in water or the environment to read or contribute. Rather, what you will find here are relevant, accessibly written, reasonably well-researched ideas and stories about water, inspired by experiences from our lives. What you won’t find are academic treatises, or uninformed rants, or hasty, insubstantial observations that happen to be related to water. (For that sort of thing, check out our Twitter.)
We promise to approach the idea of water with enthusiasm, intelligence, and—above all—curiosity. More than anything, we’re here to learn—and we hope you’ll be here to learn along with us. Come join us at the table at 44 Water Street.
Now—how about some coffee?
—Blue and Cheese (your water bloggers)