The Water Tamer: John Briscoe tackles water insecurity around the world

“Water truly branches into all aspects of life,” HSPH Prof. John Briscoe told Harvard Magazine in a profile published in the January/February 2012 issue. Briscoe, who has a joint appointment at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, has made a long career out of controlling water for environmental and human purposes around the world. Now, through the Water Security Initiative at Harvard, Briscoe is focusing on major water-related challenges such as potability and energy production. In Pakistan, Briscoe and his students are working with local people to develop ways that they can better manage their water resources in good times and bad.

There are a lot of tradeoffs in the water management business, Briscoe told Harvard Magazine, “but the idea that the untouched, natural way of life is the correct way of life is only for people who have never lived with nature. Nature is wonderful, but try living in a flood. Try living with droughts. Not so wonderful. That is how nature comes. She doesn’t come packaged with cows in green fields.”

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John Briscoe offers bold, unorthodox ideas for managing scarce water (Harvard Public Health Review)