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The Worth of Water
Apr 15, 2024

The Worth of Water

Diving into the water crisis in the West.

The Colorado River is the lifeblood of the American West. Millions of people rely on it to live. But we’re using more water than the river has to give, and it’s already lost trillions of gallons to rising temperatures. Meanwhile, rampant growth and water-intensive farming have depleted groundwater supplies.

In this special bonus episode, we visit places across the West that must fundamentally rethink how water is divided up and used, and we search for solutions that could help communities around the world adapt to a drier future.  

Over the course of an hour, we’ll meet Leigh Harris and her husband Franck Avril, who moved into what they thought was their dream house. There was just one downside: their home is built on a dry lot, and they’re dependent on hauled water. Amid a worsening drought, we follow Leigh and Franck as they scramble to find an affordable water supply and make the most of every last drop.

We’ll also look at some of the tech innovations that could help us find a way out of the water crisis — which include looking to the ocean, the sewer and even the sky to produce drinking water. We’ll go on a road trip across the West to check out the fascinating water tech solutions that our future might depend on: from desalination to recycling wastewater and an invention that feels like it came straight out of Star Wars. 

And finally, we’ll look at a growing movement, rooted in Indigenous values, to give nature — rivers, fish, crops and trees — the same rights as people, and what that might mean for the future of the Colorado River.

The team

Amy Scott Host
Caitlin Esch Senior Producer
Hayley Hershman Producer
Savannah Maher Reporter
Sophia Paliza-Carre Producer
Courtney Bergsieker Associate Producer
Lina Fansa Fellow
Jasmine Romero Editor
Chris Julin Scoring & Sound Design