What does water want? What happens when we allow water to be water? Author Erica Gies explores the concept of Slow Water in her new book Water Always Wins: Thriving in an Age of Drought and Deluge.
Slow Water approaches are unique to each place and work with natural systems. Slow Water is key to greater resiliency and offers multiple benefits including reducing floods, droughts, and wildfires. The Slow Water movement asks where our water comes from and examines the impact that our water treatment methods have on the environment, other people, and animals.
In this episode, Erica talks about Slow Water projects around the world and what happens when water is allowed to slowly flow, meander, and linger on the landscape.
We discuss the indigenous view of water as a “who,” a relative, and a being worthy of respect and compare it with the industrial idea of water as a commodity or a threat. We discuss how this skewed modern world view affects our relations with water, influences how we build our infrastructure, and imperils life on the planet.
Water has critical relationships with creatures, insects, plants, microbes, rocks, and soil. Many animals including water voles, prairie dogs, and the rock star of the water world, beavers can be our allies in the Slow Water movement.
Wetlands, bogs, and marshes are also allies when it comes to slowing water and sinking excess atmospheric carbon. Peat is the super sinker of CO2- covering only 3% of the earth and holding 30% of the soil carbon. Wetlands restoration is a powerful climate change mitigation tool and asset to the Slow Water movement.
Have you heard of the Hyporheic Zone, also called the “Liver of the River?” This ecotone found in rivers and streams is a hidden universe rich in biodiversity, fertility, and action. Erica shares a story about a Hyporheic Zone restoration project in Seattle that is having profound impacts on water quality and stream health.
It is becoming increasingly obvious that our attempts to control water are failing. Our cities and concrete infrastructure speed water away as quickly as possible, yet water seems to be reclaiming its territory more frequently. By participating in the Slow Water movement, we can cooperate with nature and water to create a more abundant world for all.
Erica Gies is the author of the new book Water Always Wins- Thriving in an Age of Drought and Deluge. Erica is a National Geographic Explorer and an award-winning independent journalist who writes about water, climate change, plants, and critters for The New York Times, Nature, The Atlantic, and many other publications. Erica cofounded two environmental news startups, Climate Confidential and This Week in Earth. You can find Erica online at: EricaGies.com and SlowWater.world/