Josh Cochran Distills 900 Million Gallons of Water
9.5 million people live in New York City. That’s a lot. And each of these people have their own set of needs that includes space, food, and water. Those needs are stacked on top of each other in one of the densest populations in the United States and even the world. So how does everyone get what they need? It’s a massive undertaking every day and in March The New York Times published an investigation of how New York City gets the nine hundred million gallons of water needed every day to keep the city hydrated. They linked up with Josh Cochran to help illustrate how this is even possible in their piece “How New York Gets Its Water.”
With rising concerns about safety and drinking water, especially because of the events in Flint, Michigan, understanding is important. Josh’s work gives us the precise information we need to know for feeling good about what comes out of the tap. Josh’s illustrations are part infographic and part direct representation giving us the skinny on how the whole process works. Most of the water that makes it to New York City is brought to the boroughs through gravity alone, starting 92 miles outside the city traveling through pipes that were laid a hundred years ago. There are so many factors and details that go into understanding the system that Josh offers us a look at it from different angles and perspectives. A birdseye map helps us understand the context of it, while cross sections show its depth. But the water system is more complex than just a long pipe that brings the water from upstate, there are also a bevy of sanitizing, testing, and processing processes that need to be understood. There’s a reason New York City’s tap water is considered the “champagne of drinking water,” it’s good and it’s clean. And now because of Josh Cochran we can understand why.
To see Josh's illustrations in context, click this link for The New York Times story.