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Running Out of Water: The Looming Crisis and Solutions to Conserve Our Most Precious Resource (MacSci) Hardcover – August 17, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-0230615649 ISBN-10: 0230615643
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“[Running Out of Water’s] excellent thumbnail introduction to the economics of water makes clear why the market cannot adequately allocate water resources…Presenting a wide range of both private and government-initiated efforts to manage water resources, [Rogers and Leal] offer a kind of how-to manual based on best practices…The great strength of Rogers and Leal's book is its inclusion of cases that are about the unmentionable side of water: sewage.”—Foreign Affairs
"A well-written, interesting read...highly recommended."--Choice
“Very straightforward…A few hours with this book, and you'll be able to dominate any party conversation about water. And, even more, you'll want to read -- and think -- more about this most precious of all liquids.”—Jesse Kornbluth, The Huffington Post

“Peter Rogers and Susan Leal get to grips with how we can keep the taps flowing, showcasing such solutions as "toilet-to-tap" sewage recycling in Singapore, water trading in Australia and smarter irrigation systems in the US…bravely make the case for well-regulated water privatisation…They have got the bottom line right, though: the water crisis is of our own making. There is enough of the stuff to go around.”—Fred Pearce, for New Scientist’s Culture Lab

“This wonderful book you now hold in your hands…will introduce you to leaders around the world who are finding creative solutions for conserving and protecting our water supply…A call to action as well as a celebration of the progress already under way. Running Out of Water offers hope and guidance for getting that crucial job done.”—from the foreword by Congressman Edward J. Markey

“An admirably clear exposition of the lamentable state of the planet’s water. But this book is more than just lamentations and excoriations. I particularly liked Rogers and Leal's  selection of eminently sensible, easily replicable, scalable solutions, and their sense that yes, the water world can be fixed.”--Marq de Villiers, author of Water: The Fate of Our Most Precious Resource, winner of Canada's Governor General's Award for non fiction

“The urgent need for a sweeping change in attitude toward the waters of our earth cannot be overstated.  In Running Out of Water, Peter Rogers and Susan Leal clearly enumerate the many ways we can and must improve the use of our embattled water resources.”--Captain Charles Moore, Algalita Marine Research Foundation

“This simple and readable book explains why there are widespread fears that the world is running out of water, and what can be done to ensure it does not. Co-authored by Peter Rogers, one of the world’s foremost global water experts, and Susan Leal, who has deep experience in managing water at a local level in the United States, the book brings an unusual but much needed blend of global and local perspectives. Explaining complex issues in simple terms and with a lively prose, the book presents both big picture solutions and specific local examples. Importantly, the authors have avoided the temptation to cover the entire waterfront, as it were--instead, they have chosen to dwell on a few key topics that get to the heart of the politics, science, economics and technology of this fascinating subject.”--Roberto Lenton, former Chair of the Technical Committee of the Global Water Partnership

“Rooted in real examples of water crises, Rogers and Leal point to clear, and well-tested, ways to solve these crises.” —John Briscoe, senior water adviser to the World Bank

 “Running Out of Wateris both a wake-up call and a call to action. Rogers and Leal document the scope of the water crisis facing the world, and then provide readable and engaging success stories of people who are stepping up to face this crisis.”--Joe Simitian, Chairman, Environmental Quality Committee, California State Senate

“A must read for the general public to understand the global water crisis and, more importantly, to grasp that there are reasonable, and well-tested solutions.” —Fiona Ma, Assemblywoman, California State Legislature

About the Author

Peter Rogers is a leading water expert and professor of environmental engineering at Harvard and a senior advisor to the Global Water Partnership. He has written for many scientific journals including Scientific American on this subject, and has received a Guggenheim, and a Twentieth Century Fellowship.

Susan Leal is a senior fellow of the Advanced Leadership Initiative at Harvard University and an associate of Harvard's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. She is also an environmental and management consultant, and the former head of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, a large regional water and power utility. While at the utility, she established the nation’s first coalition of large water utilities to address the challenges of climate change.

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Product Details

  • Series: MacSci
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Trade (August 17, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230615643
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230615649
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #372,970 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Wayne Lusvardi on September 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Mark Twain once wrote: "Denial ain't just a river in Egypt" using a malapropism on the words "the Nile" (River) and the word "denial." However, the fictional River of Denial isn't located in Egypt but in California as reflected in a new book on world-wide water shortages.

Author Peter Rogers, a professor of environmental engineering and city planning at Harvard, and Susan Leal, Harvard educated former General Manager of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, have co-authored a book titled Running Out of Water (2010) with the thesis that population growth and global warming is leading to world-wide water shortages especially in California.

While I am not knowledgeable about the water crisis in the Nile River Basin in Eqypt, the Indus River in Pakistan, or the Mekong River in Vietnam, all discussed in the book, I am familiar with the water "crisis" in California (although I once almost got shot down in a helicopter over the Mekong River in a war so I do remember it quite well).

The book is a compilation of case studies of water shortages in Third World countries (by Rogers) and solutions for solving these shortages (by Leal). The solutions described are technological and educational. Leal advocates water recycling and more efficient agricultural irrigation practices as solutions based on her experience in California. But just how much water can be recycled anyway when only about 25% of California's water goes to cities, and of that only a fraction can be recycled before it evaporates or runs to the sea? And California farmers shifted to drip irrigation methods long ago.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jesse Kornbluth TOP 1000 REVIEWER on August 22, 2010
Format: Hardcover
A few years ago, when we were deep in the fiction of "choosing a school" for our little monster, the director of admissions of the city's most respected girls' school asked us to describe our hopes for our daughter.

"We hope she'll be resourceful enough to be a leader in the great challenges of her time --- like the water crisis of 2025," I said.

I wish I could say the woman's expression was quizzical. I'm sorry to report that it was closer to distressed. Water crisis? What water crisis?

We slunk out. And, shrewdly, I think, withdrew our application.

The thing is, we were right to be worried about water. And 2007 was not exactly early to be concerned. But as long as Americans don't have to pull our cars up to water tanks and pay $5 a gallon for water-fuel, we're going to pay attention only to oil. And that disaster in the Gulf of Mexico --- it wasn't because a water main broke.

I have been looking for a book about water that is smart without being scholarly, concerned without sounding apocalyptic, optimistic without being unrealistic. And now it's here:
[...] Running Out of Water: The Looming Crisis and Solutions to Conserve Our Most Precious Resource. The authors are Peter Rogers, Professor of Environmental Engineering at Harvard and a Fellow of the Water Resources Institute of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Susan Leal, former general manager of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.

235 pages --- considering the science, that's ultra-brisk. And it's a very straightforward approach: scare the reader, share what others have done to conserve and refresh water, suggest what the reader can do. A few hours with this book, and you'll be able to dominate any party conversation about water.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Rachel Simeone on August 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A friend at a local radio station loaned me this book as she knows that I am interested in ecology and the environment and thought I would enjoy it. She was right!

Running Out of Water is an engaging, thoughtful book on the water issues that we will soon be facing as a nation and the world. The book is written so that is accessible to most readers, not just those with a scientific background.

It is a positive book, given that it addresses a potentially frightening issue; at some point, sooner or later, there won't be enough clean water for everyone. The authors present a number case studies that demonstrate ways that clean water shortages can be improved and resolved.

It was wise that the authors emphasized education, awareness and creating the right incentives/disincentives as one important component to addressing this problem proactively. This approach has worked for many problems in the US, from drunk driving to recycling, so it makes sense that it would work for water.

If you want to educate yourself about water, this book will start you on the right road.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By JayB on August 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The growing water crisis is giving rise to a flood of books. In few areas of human enquiry is the ratio between those who know something and those who have opinions so small.

In this context the book by my colleagues Peter Rogers (a professor with decades of hands-on experience in water management) and Susan Leal (who ran the San Francisco water utility) is a welcome exception. If you are looking for a in-depth discussion of water economics or engineering, this is not your book. They avoid the academic and "insider" discussions to provide descriptions that are accessible to the average reader. The book is rooted in examples of real water crises and Rogers and Leal point to clear, tested, ways that have proved effective in addressing these crises in specific contexts. They engage the reader through the use of real-world success stories to provide insights which will be helpful to other water managers in other contexts.
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