Over the years Americans have changed what they do in and around water. They no longer send raw sewage into rivers. They no longer fill in swamps to make space for farmland or shopping centers. They no longer build huge power dams. They don’t flush unused medicines down the toilet any more. So, we’re capable of change, but are we up for more change at a time when chemicals we know little about are getting into public waters, and when harder rains from climate change are doing real flood damage and when water shortages have become more common?
Journalist and historian Jim Rousmaniere introduces you to the wide range of people — many of them in New England — who are asking these questions. They include volunteer citizen-scientists who test the quality of water in rivers and lakes; they include government workers who are fashioning new ways to prevent urban floods; they include inventors who vie for prizes at water technology competitions. He gives you artists who’ve made a difference around polluted ponds. Rousmaniere shows how the people behind modern hydropower — the largest source of renewable energy in the United States today — are thinking about their impact on the environment in new ways.