How NYC Gets Its Drinking Water

This post from New York Times visualizes and explains how—and from where—NYC gets its drinking water. Reminds me of the Radiolab story about NYC’s sewage treatment facilities.

Information like this is so important to everyday life, but rarely is it published in ways that are easy to understand. If you dig far enough, Seattle.gov offers a PDF of graphs showing the current water supply. Is this information valuable? Certainly. Is it comprehensible to the average resident? I would argue not. NYT’s post is a good example of how to communicate information like this to a general audience, and to do so in a format and context that is easy to understand.

I would love to see maps and diagrams like this produced for the public utilities in every municipality in the country. When we start to understand how these systems work, we can use them more efficiently and take better care of them.