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Whose Water Is It?: The Unquenchable Thirst…

Whose Water Is It?: The Unquenchable Thirst of a Water-Hungry World

by Douglas Jehl

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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0792262387, Hardcover)

Each day at least 10,000 people worldwide die from disease-infected water. This is just one of the startling statistics contained in this collection of 13 essays, which address a wide variety of water-related issues, including global scarcity, pollution, privatization, poor distribution, and desalinization. In many parts of the world, useable fresh water (about 1% of the planet's total) is a resource more valuable than oil and even more essential to life. This book makes clear the sobering connection between inadequate clean water and poverty and the potential for increasing international conflicts (especially in parched places such as Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa), as well as some of the steps that might be taken to alleviate these problems: conservation, technological innovation, and effective cross-boundary water management. Its contributors--scientists, professors, journalists, and politicians--pile on one grim statistic after another, often repeating material from earlier chapters, which tends to dull what ultimately is a very compelling argument: that we use too much water, waste it foolishly, and degrade the environment by draining underground aquifers faster than they can be replenished.

By 2015, some 3 billion people will live in countries where fresh water is in short supply; by 2050, the number could be as high as 7 billion. Numbers this large are difficult to comprehend, which is why the most specific examples are the most horrifying. Consider the Taliban’s unauthorized construction of a dam on the Helmand River in eastern Afghanistan in the 1990s and its effect on neighboring Iran, where a 4,000-square-kilometer lake has been sucked bone-dry. All fish have disappeared and so has the village that until recently depended on catching them. What remains is an exposed lakebed, rapidly being covered by dunes from frequent sandstorms. A modest example maybe, but a particularly haunting symbol for a growing global problem. --Keith Moerer

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:14 -0400)

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"Mankind has always taken water for granted. For the first time, we must face a new reality: Not only is this precious resource not inexhaustible, it's already so scarce that great swaths of our planet are under serious threat. Asia's Aral Sea, once one of the largest inland bodies of water, is now a salty desert; 90 percent of California's wetlands have vanished; the once-mighty Nile, Ganges, and Colorado Rivers barely reach the sea in dry seasons.". "In this book, 14 prominent environmental writers address every aspect of the looming crisis. They explore the paradox that, on a blue planet like ours, little of that resource is actually available for use, and offer alarming and persuasive evidence that we are using what we have much faster than it can be replenished - a problem that will only grow worse as the global population grows and the rate of climate change and airborne pollution quickens. They show the dire consequences of current trends, from desertification to epidemic disease to increasingly bitter battles over who "owns" water and how to apportion our dwindling supply."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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