Dirty, Sacred Rivers: Confronting South Asia's Water Crisis

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9780199845019: Dirty, Sacred Rivers: Confronting South Asia's Water Crisis

Dirty, Sacred Rivers explores South Asia's increasingly urgent water crisis, taking readers on a journey through North India, Nepal and Bangladesh, from the Himalaya to the Bay of Bengal. The book shows how rivers, traditionally revered by the people of the Indian subcontinent, have in recent decades deteriorated dramatically due to economic progress and gross mismanagement. Dams and ill-advised embankments strangle the Ganges and its sacred tributaries. Rivers have become sewage channels for a burgeoning population.

To tell the story of this enormous river basin, environmental journalist Cheryl Colopy treks to high mountain glaciers with hydrologists; bumps around the rough embankments of India's poorest state in a jeep with social workers; and takes a boat excursion through the Sundarbans, the mangrove forests at the end of the Ganges watershed.

She lingers in key places and hot spots in the debate over water: the megacity Delhi, a paradigm of water mismanagement; Bihar, India's poorest, most crime-ridden state, thanks largely to the blunders of engineers who tried to tame powerful Himalayan rivers with embankments but instead created annual floods; and Kathmandu, the home of one of the most elegant and ancient traditional water systems on the subcontinent, now the site of a water-development boondoggle.

Colopy's vivid first-person narrative brings exotic places and complex issues to life, introducing the reader to a memorable cast of characters, ranging from the most humble members of South Asian society to engineers and former ministers. Here we find real-life heroes, bucking current trends, trying to find rational ways to manage rivers and water. They are reviving ingenious methods of water management that thrived for centuries in South Asia and may point the way to water sustainability and healthy rivers.

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About the Author:


Cheryl Colopy researched and wrote Dirty, Sacred Rivers during seven years of travel and residence in South Asia. With the help of a Fulbright fellowship she undertook her exploration of the looming catastrophes in the Ganges river basin. She is an award-winning reporter, formerly with National Public Radio affiliate KQED in San Francisco.

Review:


Renewable Natural Resources Foundation 2013 Excellence in Journalism Award


"Colopy offers a whirlwind tour both beautiful and troubling.... [she] interacts as a Westerner in the South Asian world with grace, and shares what she has learned with thoughtful clarity." -- Publisher's Weekly


"an important addition to the documentation of the ecological impact of population growth and development in South Asia." -- Library Journal


"The book doesn't read like an academic treatise, instead with her descriptions of the landscapes and the colourful characters she meets along the way, it feels more like a travelogue told in the first person. It would be of interest to even those who are not very interested in rivers. ... Calopy's book should be essential reading for all urban planners, water specialists, and the private sector to examine the interface between traditional water management practices, current mismanagement, and how climate change is set to make the whole problem much more accurate." --Nepali Times


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Cheryl Colopy
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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2012. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Rivers have traditionally been revered by the people of the Indian subcontinent, though in recent decades, the region s rivers have deteriorated dramatically due to economic progress and gross mismanagement. Dams and ill-advised embankments strangle the Ganges and its sacred tributaries. Rivers have become sewage channels for a burgeoning population. Dirty, Sacred Rivers explores South Asia s looming water crisis, tracing a journey through the vast watershed of the Ganges, one of the great rivers of South Asia and to many people the holiest. To tell the story of this river basin, Cheryl Colopy treks to high mountain glaciers with hydrologists; bumps around the rough embankments of India s poorest state in a jeep with social workers; and takes a boat excursion through the Sundarbans, the mangrove forests at the end of the Ganges watershed. She lingers in key places and hot spots in the debate over water: * Delhi-a megacity on the banks of one the Ganges most revered tributaries, the Yamuna-and a paradigm of water mismanagement * Bihar, where the Buddha gained enlightenment. It s now India s poorest, most crime-ridden state, thanks largely to the blunders of engineers who tried to tame powerful Himalayan rivers with embankments but instead created annual floods * Kathmandu-the home of one of the most elegant and ancient traditional water systems on the subcontinent, now the site of a water development boondoggle * The Nepal Himalaya, whose sweeping glaciers are starting to melt, threatening villagers in the high mountains A first-person narrative holds together disparate places and issues. The reader meets a cast of characters, ranging from the most humble members of South Asian society to engineers and former ministers. Some of these men and women are heroes, bucking current trends, trying to find rational ways to manage rivers and water. They are reviving ingenious methods of water management that thrived for centuries in South Asia and may point the way to water sustainability and healthy rivers. Bookseller Inventory # POW9780199845019

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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2012. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Rivers have traditionally been revered by the people of the Indian subcontinent, though in recent decades, the region s rivers have deteriorated dramatically due to economic progress and gross mismanagement. Dams and ill-advised embankments strangle the Ganges and its sacred tributaries. Rivers have become sewage channels for a burgeoning population. Dirty, Sacred Rivers explores South Asia s looming water crisis, tracing a journey through the vast watershed of the Ganges, one of the great rivers of South Asia and to many people the holiest. To tell the story of this river basin, Cheryl Colopy treks to high mountain glaciers with hydrologists; bumps around the rough embankments of India s poorest state in a jeep with social workers; and takes a boat excursion through the Sundarbans, the mangrove forests at the end of the Ganges watershed. She lingers in key places and hot spots in the debate over water: * Delhi-a megacity on the banks of one the Ganges most revered tributaries, the Yamuna-and a paradigm of water mismanagement * Bihar, where the Buddha gained enlightenment. It s now India s poorest, most crime-ridden state, thanks largely to the blunders of engineers who tried to tame powerful Himalayan rivers with embankments but instead created annual floods * Kathmandu-the home of one of the most elegant and ancient traditional water systems on the subcontinent, now the site of a water development boondoggle * The Nepal Himalaya, whose sweeping glaciers are starting to melt, threatening villagers in the high mountains A first-person narrative holds together disparate places and issues. The reader meets a cast of characters, ranging from the most humble members of South Asian society to engineers and former ministers. Some of these men and women are heroes, bucking current trends, trying to find rational ways to manage rivers and water. They are reviving ingenious methods of water management that thrived for centuries in South Asia and may point the way to water sustainability and healthy rivers. Bookseller Inventory # POW9780199845019

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