Charles Fishman on Water-Use Policy

Charles Fishman, a prolific journalist best known for his work on Wal-Mart, has an excellent op-ed in the New York Times recounting the wastefulness of America’s fragmented water-use policy, a problem made all the more urgent by the drought that is devastating crop yields across the country. Among other things, he notes:

(1) the fact that roughly half of the 99 gallons of water consumed by the average American in the summer months goes to watering lawns, often during the sunniest part of the day;

(2) the potential of rainwater harvesting;

(3) our failure to think rigorously about balancing the water-intensity of the crops we cultivate in various regions and the water resources available;

(4) the fact that U.S. utilities “lose enough water every six days to supply the nation for a day”;

(5) and the potential of water recycling to alleviate scarcity. 

The core idea tying all of the above together is that we treat water as though it has no value, but that is very far from the truth. 

Reihan Salam — Reihan Salam is executive editor of National Review and a National Review Institute policy fellow.

Most Popular


Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More