2015 - the Future

Words fall into disuse and new words come into a language—this shifting tells us something about our changing world. And as water becomes a more contentious resource, our language will evolve to reflect these coming changes. I know no more about our water future than you do, but I hope The Future Dictionary of Water will engage and provoke us to consider what that future is, and by doing so, we may have a more thoughtful impact on our future.

The project currently consists of a series of paintings, each illustrating a word in this future dictionary. I have 10 words defined and 6 of them illustrated. I hope to eventually have 40–50 words defined and illustrated. The ultimate goal is to include writers in a publication that includes the paintings, poetry, essays, short stories to be published in a book, possibly in 2016 or 2017.

If you would like to submit a word and definition, please use the form below the thumbnails. You may submit as many words and their definitions as you wish.

Scroll past the submission form to see the definitions of the words illustrated in these thumbnails.

Annuvadah Barrel Cistic Clouter Desal Kara Mottewasser Omizu Ouahe Sinagua Well


Annuvadah: The annual flooding in populated areas. From “vadah” for water in Russian, a commonly spoken language here in Oregon.

Barrel: Collected rain or clouter (see below). Product safety varies depending on location, weather patterns and production methods.

Cistic: Water hidden in underground cisterns so that it can be used by the owner but is unknown to neighbors or the public; secret water. Submitted by Martha Pfanschmidt.

Clouter: A portmanteau of cloud and water meaning rain produced by seeding clouds. The word “rain” is reserved for naturally occuring rain only.

Desal: Desalinized seawater. Product safety varies depending on source and processing.

Kara: Glacial meltwater from the Karakoram mountain range, the last remaining glaciers outside of the polar regions. Considered to be relatively uncontaminated.

Mottewasser: The tears of sleeping birds harvested by certain species of moths. Submitted by Keaney Rathbun.

Omizu: Sacred water. Submitted by Catherine Alice Michaelis.

Ouahe: Spring water from uninhabited and pre-industrial regions at the time of Anthropocene. It is generally less contaminated than other sources of ground water.

Sinagua: A bioregion that had previously supported human life but has become unable to do so for the lack of water. Submitted by C. J. Shane.

Well: Pumped or artesian ground water, considered highly contaminated and must be processed for drinking. Product safety varies depending on source and processing.