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66 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great review of water policy
Maude Barlow has written a very readable review of water policy. At first this would not seem like a very exciting topic, but water policy will soon affect all of us as we deplete the supply of accessible clean water.

Ms. Barlow divides her book into five chapters. She starts by explaining the crisis. Basically, with so many humans on the planet, we are...
Published on February 11, 2008 by John G. Curington

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Water Wars
The book is filled with information about the growing lack of usable water for
people all over the planet, but it is not a balanced report. The writer is
a crusader for water justice (a very good cause) but will put off readers with
this long and not very well presented book.
Published on January 18, 2013 by Susan A. Hall


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66 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great review of water policy, February 11, 2008
Maude Barlow has written a very readable review of water policy. At first this would not seem like a very exciting topic, but water policy will soon affect all of us as we deplete the supply of accessible clean water.

Ms. Barlow divides her book into five chapters. She starts by explaining the crisis. Basically, with so many humans on the planet, we are managing to deplete or pollute our finite resource of clean water. We are withdrawing water from aquifers at a rate faster than the aquifers can recharge. Through global warming, we are melting the glaciers that provide us with river water. Through carelessness in industry and agriculture, we are polluting the very same water that we drink.

In the second chapter, the author describes how a powerful water industry is forming to control these dwindling resources. She gives multiple examples of how the industry is not developing for the betterment of humanity or for fair distribution of water, but to reap profit from the increasingly scarce resource.

In the third chapter, she describes the problems with technological fixes such as desalination, water nanotechnology, and cloud seeding. She also emphasizes the ethical and practical problems with bottled water.

In the fourth chapter, she discusses some brave activists who are fighting back against the corporate control our water. She does a good job in covering the activities in multiple continents - the Americas, Asia, Australia, Europe, Africa - and giving concrete examples of activists who have pushed back and won against corporate water interests.

Ms. Barlow finishes with a chapter called "The Future of Water." Here she reviews potential sources of conflict over water. How will the water in the Colorado River be shared as the population in the US Southwest continues to grow? How will Israel, Jordan, and Palestine share the water of the Jordan River? How will Turkey and Syria resolve the conflict over the big dam project on the Euphrates? She finishes by speculating on potential alternatives to conflict. How do we encourage water conservation and fight for water justice?

There is also an appendix with "Sources and Further Reading" as well as a good index.

On the whole, this is an excellent book to review the upcoming water crisis. You will also understand more about the policies that are exacerbating the problems as well as some potential solutions.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Darn Hot!, November 6, 2007
A tremendous warning is the one Maude Marlow makes with this wonderful book... fascinating in essence, it lets us know why we must head towards a different kind of "growth"... simple: we are finishing even water supplies! the degree of detail she describes cannot be interpreted other than a last warning... either we rationalize our economies (world, national and even individual) or we are condemned to a next war: for water!

Referring to water, Ms. Barlow says: "...those areas of life thought to be common heritage of humanity for the benefit of the many, now coming under corporate control for the benefit of the few (rich)" is a phrase that resonates in my head as I drink water from my purchased bottle of water and wake up to conscience of this once simple act and its implications...

Worth reading document, rich (to say the least) in data, research material, etc.

¡Bravo Ms. Barlow!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good overview, but needs more about the solution, December 24, 2009
By 
This review is from: Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water (Paperback)
I came at this book as an academic teacher and researcher (in the field of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Cornell) who is working in the energy area and wanted to get an overview of the current status and challenges with world water issues, since energy and water are related in many ways. (You can learn more about my background from my energy systems book Energy Systems Engineering: Evaluation and Implementation, coauthored with Lou Albright.) I read the book cover to cover. I found the book helpful by and large to get me up to speed, especially the first chapter ('where has all the water gone?'), where Barlow lays out what is going on around the world and identifies certain key geographic hotspots. There were two limitations in my view: 1) too much time spent naming and recounting the interactions between various players in the struggle over water, which did not interest me after a certain point, and 2) more importantly, too much discussion of the problem and not enough time spent outlining a solution at the end. In other words, the book spends a fair amount of time detailing the failures of the privatization of water delivery service to address the need to provide clean and adequate water, but even if there were no privatization movement afoot, would all of our global water problems be solved? I doubt it -- there would still remain the need to modernize the infrastructure, to bring clean water to millions or probably billions who don't yet have it, and to manage it more carefully so that we don't run out overall. Hence 4 out of 5 stars.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Overview and Update As of 2007, August 27, 2010
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This review is from: Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water (Paperback)
I now realize that this book is a sequel to Blue Gold: The Fight to Stop the Corporate Theft of the World's Water and I will read and review that book next.

First off, am really starting to pay attention to Right Livelihood, the Alternative Nobel that seems to avoid really big mistakes that have characterized the Nobel Peace Prize in recent decades (Kissinger to Obama). I first learned of this award when Herman Daly, conceptualizer of Ecological Economics, spoke at one of my conferences, and now I am going to look into this and post a listing of recipients at Phi Beta Iota, where all my reviews can be easily exploited across 98 distinct categories, something not possible here at Amazon.

Up front I will still say that Marq de Villier's Water: The Fate of Our Most Precious Resource is the best book around, along with the The Water Atlas: A Unique Visual Analysis of the World's Most Critical Resource.

This book joins with Water Wars: Privatization, Pollution, and Profit and its own prequel Blue Gold (now also coming out as a DVD along with another DVD, For Love of Water) to make the case for water as a human right. The book ends with a Blue Covenent in three parts.

Two points in this book hit me hard:

1) We have to deal with sewage first, globally, deeply, and reliably BEFORE we can address the clean fresh water challenge.

2) Desalination produces a poisonous by-product of concentrated brine mixed with the chemicals and heavy metals used in the production of fresh water, creating 20 billion liters of WASTE worldwide every DAY.

The two points above come together when the author points out that most of the places where desalination plants can be located are surrounded by polluted seas. I was thrilled a year or so ago when I saw the price point for a cubic meter of water comes down to ten percent of what it used to be, but now I realize that we have not been serious about calculating the "true costs" of the whole system.

The author brings out a few facts that I am glad to note, but for the over-all treatment, Marq's book is still the best.

+ US west is the driest it has been in 500 years.
+ 2006 is the year in which urban population overtook rural population in numbers.
+ 75% of India's lakes and rivers are too polluted for safe use.
+ Groundwater (aquifers) is nose diving, wells are so deep they are bringing up dinosaur-era water.

A very brief discussion of virtual or embedded water is included, this is done better in other books.

The author uses the middle of the book to address the failure of political leadership (at least in representing the public interest), and the three types of privatization: concession, leases, and management.

The author is starkly relevant in her concise discussion of how the UN water bodies are corrupt, accepting the funding of conferences on water by the water corporations, and then coming up with answers that favor the corporations. Like the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the author finds that hte Global Water Partnership and the World Water Council are inherently corrupt, while Aquafed is an outright industry representative.

Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) of note include WaterAid, Freshwater Action Network, World Wildlife Fund, and Green Cross International, all with severe ethics issues when it comes to actually representing the public interest rather than the interests of those who fund them.

The author provides an excellent overview of major global water forums, each discredited in its conclusions as time passes.

This section of the book concludes with ONE TRILLION A YEAR as the author's estimate of the value of the fresh water market, this includes all the infrastructure.

Two chapters review how countries are fighting back, one country at a time.

QUOTE (142): The three water crises--dwindling freshwater supplies, inequitable access to water and the corporate control of water--pose the greatest threat of our time to the planet and to our survival.

The author touches on water refugees and the fact that not only is water a global security issue now, but it is closely linked to energy security, and especially so in the USA.

I am fascinated by a discussion of how the US is encraoching on the Guarani Aquifer in South America, this is being called "hydro-geopolitical conflict.

TIBET is featured as providing fresh water for half of the Earth's population through ten watersheds, and this makes it easier to understand why China has invaded Tibet and strives to keep it and its resources under direct control.

The conclusion of the book focuses on the Blue Covenant in three parts:

01 Water Conservation
02 Water Justice
03 Water Democracy

The author is earnest and credible in her descriptions of the many UN conferences and offices that reek of corruption as they go along with the corporate endeavor to buy equal footing with human rights to water.

The sources section of the book is superb, this would have been a great place to have QR Code, I anticipate a new tool soon that allows a USB "light" to double as a reader of QR codes so that references can be pulled online from hard copy materials. The index was disappointing, primarily names.

The author cites Pillar of Sand and Crimes Against Nature as two books with special merit.

The other books that are in this "set" include:

The World's Water 2008-2009: The Biennial Report on Freshwater Resources
The Evolution of the Law and Politics of Water
Governing Water: Contentious Transnational Politics and Global Institution Building (Global Environmental Accord: Strategies for Sustainability and Institutional Innovation)
Water: The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power, and Civilization
Blue Gold: The Fight to Stop the Corporate Theft of the World's Water
Whose Water Is It?: The Unquenchable Thirst of a Water-Hungry World
The Blue Death: The Intriguing Past and Present Danger of the Water You Drink

Once I have them all done, I will create a Worth a Look: List of Book Reviews on Water at Phi Beta Iota.

Global Water Intelligence gets several good mentions.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly Informative, May 28, 2009
By 
This review is from: Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water (Paperback)
This book provides ample information about what is going on in the world of water. It explains how we attain freshwater, the environmental and social implications of our actions, and who the key players are. In some places it provides more names and organizations than one may be interested in, but other places are loaded with eye opening facts and explanations about water and its role in our future. I would recommend picking it up and at least reading the 3rd Chapter.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It was required for a class (Ecology of Foods), January 11, 2012
By 
Joe M. (Wisconsin USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water (Paperback)
This book was a required reading for a class. It really sucks how there are some who would curb the water supply of those less powerful. This book is, at least, an eye opener.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Water Wars, January 18, 2013
By 
Susan A. Hall (Roseville, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water (Paperback)
The book is filled with information about the growing lack of usable water for
people all over the planet, but it is not a balanced report. The writer is
a crusader for water justice (a very good cause) but will put off readers with
this long and not very well presented book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MUST Reat, November 5, 2010
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This review is from: Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water (Paperback)
If everyone were to read this book, we might be able collectively to change our wanton destruction and waste - and save the planet and all her inhabitants. Remarkable resource, exceptional amount of research and documentation.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great reading!, December 1, 2013
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This review is from: Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water (Paperback)
Maude Barlow's books are always great. She is my water hero! Water has become the focus in my life and this book helps explain why.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, a MUST read!!, December 14, 2012
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This review is from: Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water (Paperback)
Read this book for a limnology course, but can't believe it's not a common name like Gore's Inconvenient Truth. This book gives a complete picture on the current situation on global water and how we got here. It's eye opening to see we should be at least as concerned with the global water crisis as we are with climate change. Well-written and organized and definitely inspires change!
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Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water
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