July 09, 2013
NBC LEARN AND NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION EXPLORE THE FUTURE OF WATER IN NEW “SUSTAINABILITY: WATER” VIDEO SERIES
WEB | HIGH | CART
New York, NY—July 9, 2013— NBC News’ educational arm, NBC Learn, and the National Science Foundation (NSF) have teamed up to produce a new informative video series that examines the long-term health of one of America’s most important resources: water.
“Sustainability: Water,” an original seven-part collection consists of detailed stories explaining significant challenges to managing the water supply in selected regions and cities across the United States. As climate rapidly changes and population grows, providing a sufficient supply and quality of water will be a critical challenge to people everywhere. These videos aim to help advance public understanding of the effects human activity and climate variability have on water and its distribution system.
The series highlights research funded by NSF and looks at the lives of scientists who are hard at work on projects designed to help pave the way to a more sustainable future. Each video features an NSF-supported scientist from a diversity of fields, geographic locations and institutions explaining a specific challenge and how these challenges are affecting the water supply. Each episode is available cost-free to teachers, students and the public at NBCLearn.com/Water (http://www.nbclearn.com/water) and NSF websites (http://www.science360.gov/files/).
“Most Americans take water for granted,” said Roger Wakimoto, assistant director for NSF’s Directorate for Geosciences. “We have occasional water restrictions, but for most of us, when we turn on the tap, water is there. This series with NBC Learn aims to help people become more conscious of the threats to our water supply and understand the steps that need to be taken to maintain it.”
"Our new series with NSF is an excellent opportunity to raise awareness about the challenges to our environment,” said Soraya Gage, General Manager of NBC Learn. "By exploring the challenge of sustainable water, we hope to raise awareness and spur dialogue about managing the water system and conserving Earth’s most precious resource.”
New “Sustainability: Water” videos released today include:
1. The Water Cycle
This video uses animation and graphics to explain each of the “flow” and “storage” processes in the Water Cycle: precipitation, interception, run-off, infiltration, percolation, groundwater discharge, evaporation, transpiration, evapotranspiration and condensation.
2. Sustainability: Water – The Ogallala Aquifer
Farmers in Kansas and other states that sit atop the Ogallala aquifer – the largest freshwater aquifer in North America – are pumping out water for crop irrigation far faster than natural seepage of rainwater can replenish it. Scientist David Hyndman from Michigan State University is helping develop a plan to better manage this vital resource for sustainable farming.
3. Sustainability: Water – Sierra Nevada Snow Pack & Snow Melt
Snow melt from the snow pack in Sierra Nevada mountain range provides drinking water to about 30 percent of California’s residents, irrigates key crops in the San Joaquin valley and runs hydroelectric power plants that supply at least 15 percent of the state’s electricity. Martha Conklin and Tom Harmon of the University of California, Merced use wireless sensor technology to more accurately measure snow pack and snow melt, so that state water managers can make better decisions on how to allocate this resource.
4. Sustainability: Water – Dead Trees & Dirty Water in the Rockies
The Rocky Mountains supply water to more than 60 million people in the West, but this watershed is in peril due to a tiny insect: the mountain pine beetle. Millions of trees killed by these “bark beetles” have dropped branches that once intercepted snow; snow now falls directly on the ground and runs off more quickly and contaminated by decaying tree “litterfall.” Hydrologists Reed Maxwell of Colorado School of Mines and John Stednick of Colorado State University are studying the impact of the beetle-killed trees on water quantity and quality in the area.
5. Sustainability: Water – Los Angeles & Water Imports
The nearly 10 million people in Los Angeles, Calif. require a lot of water – most of which is imported snow melt from the Eastern Sierra Nevadas and Rocky Mountains, hundreds of miles away. UCLA researchers Stephanie Pincetl and Mark Gold are studying how L.A. can reduce its water imports and better capture, store and reuse water for a more sustainable water supply.
6. Sustainability: Water – Urban Streams in Baltimore
The Chesapeake Bay, a natural habitat and watershed providing fresh water for Baltimore, faces an environmental crisis: nitrate pollution in run-off from a range of sources. Claire Welty of the University of Maryland-Baltimore County is studying run-off through city water systems and “urban streams” in and around Baltimore, in hopes that a better understanding of the urban water cycle will help municipalities reduce or prevent watershed pollution.
7. Sustainability: Water – Lake Erie and Nutrient Loading
In 2011, Lake Erie suffered an unprecedented bloom of toxic blue-green algae, a concern to millions who use the lake for drinking water, agriculture, manufacturing and tourism. Stanford University’s Anna Michalak, University of Toledo’s Thomas Bridgeman and Heidelberg University’s R. Peter Richards are among those studying how agricultural runoff, plus changes in precipitation, may increase nutrient flow into Lake Erie that can “feed” potentially dangerous algae blooms.
In addition to its subscription resources, NBC Learn also produces original video collections that are made available for free on NBCLearn.com. These include Emmy Award-winning videos produced in partnership with NSF, see: Science of the Winter Olympics (http://www.nbclearn.com/portal/site/learn/science-of-the-olympic-winter-games), Science of the Summer Olympics (http://www.nbclearn.com/portal/site/learn/science-of-the-summer-olympics), Science of NFL Football (http://www.nbclearn.com/portal/site/learn/science-of-nfl-football), Science of NHL Hockey (http://www.nbclearn.com/portal/site/learn/science-of-nhl-hockey), Science Behind The News (http://www.nbclearn.com/portal/site/learn/science-behind-the-news), Changing Planet (http://www.nbclearn.com/portal/site/learn/changing-planet) and Chemistry Now (http://www.nbclearn.com/portal/site/learn/chemistry-now).
About NBC Learn
NBC Learn is the educational arm of NBC News dedicated to providing resources for students, teachers, and lifelong learners. The online resources NBC Learn has created for the education community leverages nearly 80 years of historic news coverage, documentary materials, and current news broadcasts. "NBC LEARN K-12" gives students and teachers access to thousands of video clips from the NBC News archives, including great historic moments – from the Great Depression to the Space Race to the latest political coverage. NBC Learn also offers primary source materials, lesson plans and classroom planning resources, and additional text and image resources from our content partners.
About the National Science Foundation
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year 2012, its budget was $7.0 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 50,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes about 11,500 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $593 million in professional and service contracts yearly. For more information visit: NSF Home Page: http://www.nsf.gov.