The Power of Water: The ABC News Initiative Begins Earth Week 2023
No one can live without water. Yet, in some places, water issues are threatening the health of millions of people around the world. ABC News announced The Power of Water initiative featuring robust reporting across all programs and platforms as well as 23 ABC stations for Earth Week beginning Sunday, April 16. As part of ABC News' ongoing commitment to climate- and environmental-related stories, anchors and correspondents will fan out across the country and report on everything from the safety of the water supply and the disproportionate impact on poor communities, changes in sea levels that lead to more flooding, scientists who are forcing clouds to rain and snow to combat megadroughts and more. "The Power of Water initiative continues ABC News' dedicated commitment to report on climate change and environmental crises, which are critical issues of our time," said ABC News President Kim Godwin. "By taking a deep dive into answering questions around the contamination of water, lack of water in some places and too much water in others, we hope to shed light on how this essential resource is posing a health risk to millions."
"Good Morning America" will launch "Rivers Across America with Ginger Zee" on Monday, April 17. Zee, chief meteorologist and managing editor of ABC News' climate unit, is set to begin reporting live from the Mississippi Delta, covering the first U.S. climate refugees, moving a low-lying village to a new purpose-built town inland. Zee will then report on the Colorado River and "weather modification," which uses microscopic particles to encourage clouds to rain or snow in the race to manage the megadrought that is drying out parts of the American West. Finally, Zee takes viewers to the pristine waters of the Crystal River in Florida, live with the manatee families that call the river home, shining a light on the inspiring story behind the restoration of this once-devastated ecosystem. Contributing correspondent Becky Worley brings viewers tips to make home and lifestyle improvements that protect the planet and can also cut costs with her three-part series "This Green House," detailing how to discover hidden water leaks that could be causing water waste and a higher bill, testing tap water for mineral contamination and other at-home eco-based changes.
"World News Tonight with David Muir" will feature stories and reporting on water from ABC News' correspondents during Earth Week, including dedicated coverage on Thursday, April 20, with anchor David Muir reporting from the frontlines of an international water crisis.
ABC News' investigative unit will take an in-depth look at the aging infrastructure in Louisiana, which ranks as one of the worst in the country. Senior national correspondent Steve Osunsami reports from St. Tammany and Waterproof, two communities dealing with infrastructure issues and a lack of safe flowing water. Osunsami's reporting will be featured across ABC News programs and platforms, including "GMA," "Nightline" and ABC News Live.
"Nightline" will have in-depth reporting throughout the week, including a story on the shocking statistic that 2.2 million Americans don't have access to running water inside their homes. "Nightline" will travel to these communities where it's a daily task to have water for dishes, laundry, showering and drinking, and the steps that need to be taken to find a solution. The program will also feature reporting from Muir and Osunsami.
"This Week with George Stephanopoulos" will preview ABC Owned Television Stations' docu-series "Our America: Trouble on Tap," detailed below, featuring an interview with EPA administrator Michael Regan on the water contamination in North Carolina on Sunday, April 16. "This Week" co-anchor and chief global affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz will also examine climate change's influence on harmful algal blooms, known as red tide and its impact on marine life, coastal communities and local economies.
"GMA3: What You Need to Know" will feature dedicated water stories, including a story on several mothers in Flint, Michigan, and how lead contamination in drinking water can impact maternal health and childbirth outcomes; Zee's reporting from central Florida on how improving water quality restores biodiversity; senior congressional correspondent Rachel Scott's reporting on the water inequality in Navajo Nation, following two families in rural Utah and New Mexico who travel miles weekly to get water; and a joint project with ABC News Live with reporting from Zee on portable technology that extracts water from the air. Global climate activist Nana Firman, who is a leading voice in encouraging the American Muslim community to practice an eco-lifestyle, will join Faith Friday on April 21.
"The View" will have several guests on during the week to discuss water and climate, including Zee on Tuesday, April 18, and environmental activist Erin Brockovich on Thursday, April 20.
ABC News Live, the 24/7 streaming news channel, will have weeklong coverage beginning Monday, April 17, featuring Zee's "Rivers Across America" series from "GMA" and daily guests to discuss climate and water topics, including fashion brands and beer companies that are aiming to use less water, biodiversity, and ocean cleanup. "ABC News Live Prime with Linsey Davis" will also feature several pieces throughout the week, including spending the day with a group of women whose lives have changed due to access to clean water and are now fighting for clean water for all. Davis will also have an exclusive interview with actor Matt Damon about his water foundation. Correspondent Mireya Villarreal will bring viewers to the front lines of the climate crisis as she travels to the Salton Sea in California, where lack of clear air, limited water, jobs and education have depleted an entire community. However, with one of the largest lithium reserves in the world, this community is awaiting the funds and help needed to make changes. Zee will also take an inside look at hydro panels, an innovative solution to creating water "out of thin air." ABC News Live will also feature Osunsami's reporting from Waterproof, Louisiana.
"20/20" will feature ABC News' Chris Connelly going inside the investigation of Lake Mead with the Las Vegas police cold case unit, where the remains of as many as four bodies have recently surfaced due to water levels falling to historic lows in recent years, with one body found in a barrel with a bullet wound to the head. The new "20/20" episode "Secrets of the Lake" airs Thursday, May 4, at 10:00 p.m. on ABC.
ABC News Digital will launch an immersive experience page on ABCNews.com, showcase the network's coverage of climate and environmental stories, and take users through an interactive journey with photos, videos, graphics and text. The team will publish stories and videos throughout Earth Week, including how manufacturing has impacted water in Puerto Rico; America's aging infrastructure; the drought impacting the West Coast; how rising sea levels in New York City are affecting coastal flooding; how small businesses are impacted by water problems; and the geoengineering used to combat the climate crisis. "GMA" Digital will also feature several climate stories, including Zee on water-conserving, eco-friendly yard makeover, eco-friendly best practices for food, home and shopping, a 14-year-old mission to alleviate food insecurity through hydroponic gardens, and a look at tap versus bottled water. All digital content is available on ABCNews.com, GoodMorningAmerica.com and the ABC News app.
ABC News' flagship daily podcast "Start Here," hosted by Brad Mielke, will travel to Lake Erie to examine the effect of microplastics on the nation's drinking water. ABC News Radio will provide original reporting to all affiliates in hourly newscasts throughout the day on April 20. A special edition of "Perspective," ABC News Radio's weekly newsmagazine, will be available on Thursday, April 21. The episode will feature a story on how American citizens get their water and why some cities like New York City are doing well while others are struggling, as well as a report on what recent dolphin sightings in the East and Bronx Rivers tell us about the health of the waterways. "Start Here" and "Perspective" are available on demand wherever podcasts are available.
ABC NewsOne, the affiliate news service of ABC News, will be providing reports and analysis throughout Earth Week, including a look at the continuing presence of dangerous lead pipes in homes and schools, the success of the lead pipe replacement project in Newark, New Jersey, and how the various issues around water disproportionately impact communities of color. Twenty-three ABC stations will also have coverage as part of the network's The Power of Water initiative, including KRDO in Colorado Springs; WHAS in Louisville; KTRK in Houston; WFAA in Dallas; KXLY in Spokane; KAVU in Victoria, Texas; KMGH in Denver; KESQ in Palm Springs; KXTV in Sacramento; KOCO in Oklahoma City; KTWO in Casper, Wyoming; KKTQ in Cheyenne, Wyoming; KYUR in Anchorage, Alaska; WPBY in Lafayette, Indiana; KNTV in Las Vegas; KVUE in Austin; WDIO in Duluth; WTVG in Toledo; WMAR in Baltimore; KCRG in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; WKOW in Madison, Wisconsin; KNXV in Phoenix and WSB in Atlanta. NewsOne provides news content and services for more than 200 ABC affiliates and international news partners.
ABC Owned Television Stations will debut a three-part documentary series in partnership with ABC News and National Geographic titled "Our America: Trouble on Tap." The first episode will premiere Friday, April 21, at ouramericaabc.com, across streaming platforms and on Hulu. The series, produced by Tracy J. Wholf, coordinating producer of the climate unit at ABC News, and Justin Allen, executive producer with the ABC Owned Television Stations, looks at how environmental pollution, climate change and aging infrastructure are gradually eroding the ability of more and more communities across the United States to have access to free and potable drinking water. Additional details on the series are available at ouramericaabc.com.