An Inconvenient Thirst: 6 Videos on UCI/JPL's Alarming Groundwater Research

From his JPL desk, Jay Famiglietti talks about dwindling drinking water in Australia.
From his JPL desk, Jay Famiglietti talks about dwindling drinking water in Australia.
American Museum of Natural History

Check out the following six (mostly brief) videos that have UC Irvine/Jet Propulsion Laboratory water scientist Jay Famiglietti and his team's research explaining the California and global groundwater crises.

READING ASSIGNMENT: An Inconvenient Thirst: Water scientist Jay Famiglietti pleas for smart use of our most precious resource before it's too late. Will we listen?


1) TEDxUCIrvine: "Can We End the Global Water Crisis?"

Jay Famiglietti, the UC Irvine hydologist and Earth System Science and Civil and Environmental Engineering professor and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) senior water scientist, answers that question in this TEDx talk--the "x" meaning the presentation is independent from the nonprofit TED organization.

2) NASA GRACE: Tracking Water from Space

The American Museum of Natural History presents Famiglietti and his colleague Michael Watkins at JPL in Pasadena explaining NASA's GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment) and how its satellites measures ice, rainwater and groundwater on the Earth. That data is used to identify trouble spots around the planet.

3) CNN: Fareed Zakaria GPS "The Coming Water Wars"


Washington Post


New York Times

bestselling author and host of CNN's flagship foreign affairs show uses "the pioneering study" by Famiglietti's JPL and UCI research teams on groundwater depletion in the Middle East as a jumping off point to discuss possible wars over freshwater. "The Pacific Institute lists 225 such conflicts through history," Zakaria says. "What's fascinating is that nearly half of those conflicts took place in the last two decades. Are we going to see a new era of wars fought over water?"

4) Al Jazeera America: "Global Water Security"

Hot on the heels of a global conference at The Hague where "water diplomacy" to resolve conflicts over the resource were discussed, Famiglietti gives Al Jazeera America's


an overview of the research from space that is showing a "massive redistribution of water" around the world. That, the water scientist says, is "creating tremendous haves and have nots." With more massive flooding, persistent droughts and widespread groundwater depletion, water management is necessary to prevent these conflicts, he argues.

5) Last Call at the Oasis "We're screwed ... yeah" sequence

Famiglietti plays a promient role in Jessica Yu's 2012 documentary that chronicles dwindling water supplies worldwide, increasing pollution and potential solutions. This sequence shows the UCI professor attending a meeting among farmers, academics and agriculture officials in Fresno, where an informative talk on dwindling water supplies devolves into acrimony ... and Famiglietti uttering his famous line.

6) Last Call at the Oasis update

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Famiglietti is also the focus of a five-minute update on the documentary for Pivot television that begins with him driving through California's Central Valley and past all those "Congress Created Dust Bowl" signs posted on empty farmland along the Golden State (5) Freeway.

See also: An Inconvenient Thirst: 9 Global Hot Spots An Inconvenient Thirst: Jay Famiglietti Reader An Inconvenient Thirst: Famiglietti's Itinerary

Email: Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!

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