For something so fundamental, the average North American’s understanding of water is woefully shallow. Clean water is consistently rated as a key environmental issue, but tell the average person that in America the water coming from some taps is so toxic it can be lit afire, or that there are cities that will be out of water within the next five years, and the response has seemed to be mainly disbelief or denial.

We recommend that you see this documentary, Last Call at the Oasis, that explores Americas looming water crisis and the quality and access to water around the world. It’s our most valuable resource and our lives depend on it yet people don’t seem to realise that its drying up.

To tell the quantity side of the story, Yu starts in Las Vegas, the poster-child for excess and the impact of rapid population growth. The city of 2 million—with 40 million annual visitors—relies on the Colorado River for its water. But the city’s breakneck development has taken a serious toll on the Colorado and its main reservoir, Lake Mead. With Lake Mead only 40% full, it’s estimated that Vegas will be without water within five years. Courtesy of fastcoexist