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Water is a curious thing, observed the economist Adam Smith: although it is vital to life, it costs almost nothing, whereas diamonds, which are useless for survival, cost a fortune. In Water, Canadian journalist de Villiers says the resource is still undervalued, but it is becoming more precious. It's not that the world is running out of water, he adds, but that "it's running out in places where it's needed most."
De Villiers examines the checkered history of humankind's management of water--which, he hastens to remind us, is not a renewable resource in many parts of the world. One of them is the Nile River region, burdened by overpopulation. Another is the Sahara, where Libyan ruler Muammar Qaddafi is pressing an ambitious, and potentially environmentally disastrous, campaign to mine deep underground aquifers to make the desert green. Another is northern China, where the damaging effects of irrigation have destroyed once-mighty rivers, and the Aral Sea of Central Asia, which was killed within a human lifetime. And still another is the American Southwest, where crops more fitting to a jungle than a dry land are nursed. De Villiers travels to all these places, reporting on what he sees and delivering news that is rarely good.
De Villiers has a keen eye for detail and a solid command of the scientific literature on which his argument is based. He's also a fine storyteller, and his wide-ranging book makes a useful companion to Marc Reisner's classic Cadillac Desert and other works that call our attention to a globally abused--and vital--resource. --Gregory McNamee --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
A child dies every eight seconds from drinking contaminated water. More than half of the world's rivers are now so polluted that they pose serious health risks. One-third of Africa's people already endure conditions of water scarcity, and water supplies are in jeopardy in China, India, Japan, Spain, southern France, Australia, the southwestern U.S. and many other parts of Asia and Europe. Winner of the Governor General's Literary Award for nonfiction in Canada, de Villiers's important, compelling, highly readable report on the looming global water crisis sounds a wake-up call for concerned citizens, environmentalists, policymakers and water-drinkers everywhere. In water matters, he finds the U.S. "both profligate and caring, rapacious and thrifty," and he cites studies that warn that the Ogallala Aquifer lying beneath six Great Plains states will run dry before 2020, imperiling U.S. agriculture as well as grain exports and posing the risk of a global food crisis. For sheer travelogue pleasure, his informal survey hops from the Sea of Galilee to Victoria Falls to a Russian boat ride down the Volga, as he delves into the science, ecology, folklore, history and politics of water. The news he brings back is ominous: rapidly growing populations, ever-increasing pollution, desertification and falling water tables endanger a fragile, finite resource. Avoiding a gloom-and-doom outlook, his spirited report remains determinedly optimistic, calling for a bold combination of solutions: conservation, technological innovation, desalination of sea water, demand-reducing devices like low-flow faucets and toilets, public policy to reduce water wastefulness and international cooperation to resolve transnational disputes over water. Rights sold in seven countries; documentary rights sold. (July)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
This book shows the persistent competition over freshwater and how international norms and laws fall short of fair results. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Chad M
It's ok , not as interesting as I thought it would be. He talks about his travels and the water in those places. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Jesus Hernandez
I had to read this for a class and it was so boring. I wasted my time and my money.Published 17 months ago by Rhonda Watson
Excellent synopsis of our Anthropocene created water problems around the world.
If you are easily depressed, I don't recommend it.
Very thorough and well done.
I used some excerpts from this book to write my research paper for my English class and got an A on my paperPublished on September 4, 2013 by Andrea E. Gingrich
The first question I asked before reading this book was, "Is it up date?". I still don't know the answer. Read morePublished on August 16, 2010 by Dan
Marq de Villiers' Water: The Fate of Our Most Precious Resource combines both well researched information and personal experiences to produce a book that delves into an issue that... Read morePublished on December 12, 2009 by G. Richards
I had to read this for a class and I ended up buying it because I couldn't find it at the library and it was cheap enough on Amazon. Read morePublished on November 25, 2009 by Ren_A
Marq DeVilliers takes on a topic that affects each of us every day, and he brings it into perspective in a concise, tightly woven book. Read morePublished on January 21, 2009 by Avid Reader