- Paperback: 208 pages
- Publisher: Welcome Rain Publishers (December 18, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1566492211
- ISBN-13: 978-1566492218
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
#453,475 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #121 in Books > Science & Math > Nature & Ecology > Water Supply & Land Use
- #131 in Books > Engineering & Transportation > Engineering > Civil & Environmental > Environmental > Water Quality & Treatment
- #191 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > Political Science > Reference
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Tapped Out: The Coming World Crisis in Water and What We Can Do About It Paperback – December 18, 2001
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Once in Chicago, on Michigan Boulevard, he crossed the street just to say hello to me, which impressed the dickens out of my impressionable friends, no end. He was just a fine decent guy.
Chairman-Aqua Prima Center Inc.-[...]
Water is the only resource for which there is no substitute. The world's water resources are plagued with a great variety of problems, and they typically fall into one of five broad groups- availability, quantity, quality, distribution, and competing agendas. Rich countries are increasingly finding themselves pitted against poor countries for limited water resources. In many instances, large and wasteful consumers are taking needed, precious quantities from others to slake their insatiable demand. Furthermore, more societies are reaching farther and farther to acquire this precious and critical resource.
Tapped Out has a number of favorable attributes. The book introduces the reader to the problem in an easy to understand manner. All technical terms are clearly defined as they are presented, and the book succeeds immensely in achieving its stated goal- eliciting the reader's interest in water issues. Moreover, Mr. Simon goes beyond lamenting the situation, and offers practical solutions to the problem. Finally, Mr. Simon shows the reader how the average person can be part of the solution to the problem. The reader is not left feeling overwhelmed and powerless in the face of the sheer magnitude of the problem. As such, the book is a good call to action overall.
However, there are a few moderate demerits, primarily structural, to the text. First, Mr. Simon cites too many examples in the first half of the text. These examples, while informative, come one after another and at times made the reading rather plodding. Instead, each major point should have been isolated, described in general terms, and then two to three examples which elaborate on each point should have been cited. That way, the reader gets a true sense of the problem while at the same time learning and more importantly retaining the pertinent facts. Second, the book relies too much on text, making the book very monotonous at times. Pictures would have added considerable value to the text. In addition a global map that explicitly displayed the distribution of the world's water resources, as well as the areas where water shortages are a problem, would also have been helpful. Moreover, the inclusion of graphs depicting trends in population, water supply and water consumption would also have been useful. Finally, future editions of the text should include a more balanced discussion of the technical challenges associated with water purification, desalination, and energy requirements and costs.
While I agree in principle with many of the points that Mr. Simon raises in his book, I have very strong reservations about Mr. Simon's solution to the water supply problem. Unfortunately, American bays, coastlines, rivers and lakes have earned the dubious distinction of becoming our nation's `Great Toilet'. Mr. Simon has very high hopes that one day in the near future, we will desalinate the dirty water from this make-shift natural toilet for the purposes of human consumption and agricultural production.
Given the current state of the art, it may not be possible to use reclaimed water or seawater on any appreciable scale to avert water shortages. Traditionally, wastewater treatment is used to bring microbial and organic loads down to a `safe' level so that the wastewater can be discharged to natural water systems. These natural systems then do the rest, primarily via dilution, entrapment, and degradation processes. Considering the deplorable state of the nation's waterways and coastlines, a desalination plant on the coast would have to be immediately adjacent to and downstream of a wastewater treatment plant. Moreover, each step in the process would create waste- effluents that would either have to be disposed of or put in some way to use. Finally, the process would also require a dedicated energy source. Desalination schemes currently require large amounts of energy for their operation, and as they are envisioned, will require huge energy input. As such, I am afraid that these schemes will ultimately play into the already strong hand of the energy companies. Solar energy, while a possibility, depends on area, and a given area, usually quite large, is required to satisfy a very limited water demand. Should demand increase, one would have very little maneuvering room when looking to scale up a solar-driven process. Therefore, solar-driven processes may be extremely limited, leaving only fossil fuels and nuclear power to provide the necessary energy. As a result, the cost of desalinated water if deployed on a large scale would inevitably track the cost of energy very closely. Thus, I suspect that energy companies are salivating at the prospect of such large-scale desalination schemes becoming reality.
In conclusion, this book, along with J R McNeil's Something New Under the Sun, has forced me to seriously consider the social, ecological, and environmental consequences associated with the adoption and deployment of any techno-economic process. After reading this book, I am now one more person who is strongly motivated to work towards a practical solution to a problem that affects all of us in the global community.
The book's information is not new to many land owners who for several decades have been battling with governments over water rights, but the book's information is ideal for individuals who are new to the topic of water depletion. I sincerely wish that all city dwellers would read the book. The problem of diminishing water supplies is very real, and though most city residents may not be aware of the problem, many land owners and governments are deeply concerned.
Perhaps the most beneficial aspect of the book is that it was written by a politician that was personally familiar with water laws. Though Simon is not a professional writer, I found the book to retain my interest and to be easily digested. I appreciated the frequent references to publications that Simon quoted from; a nonfiction book's value is graded most on its accuracy and references.
Wars were sparked over water in the past, and water is among the top of the list of possible future wars. Today, in May of 2008, there is a global concern over fuel and food, which is as nothing compared to what happens when water is no longer available. "Tapped Out" speaks of the water shortages that currently exist in Mexico, India, Pakistan, Thailand, the Middle East, and throughout the world, including the USA and even the Philippines. It is very important that everyone learns why water shortages are occurring, and "Tapped Out" would be a good book to begin learning from.