Many people ask me to comment on statements made by journalists covering the water sector. Most of the time, I am happy to see journalists covering water issues, since they tend to promote awareness of the need to change our ways, but there are two big exceptions. The first is when a lazy journalist fails to see that water shortages are not caused by a failure to rain as much as a failure (of managers) to keep demand below supply. In those cases, I often leave comments or send emails to correct them, hoping that they look a little deeper in the future.
The second problem is much more dangerous: a journalist posing as an expert.
But what does it take to be an "expert"? Well, it doesn't mean you need a PhD or need to spend years studying the topic. You need a decent framework that explains causes and effects within local institutions that also matches the knowledge and intuition of those who have lived with the situation for many years. ...
Bottom Line: Journalists can cause a lot of damage when they misdiagnose problems, offer the wrong solution and appeal to fear, uncertainty and dread. What they need to do -- and what I try to do -- is explain the facts and barriers to change before suggesting gradual reforms to improve our water management.