When the Rivers Run Dry: Journeys Into the Heart of the World's Water Crisis

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9781552637418: When the Rivers Run Dry: Journeys Into the Heart of the World's Water Crisis
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Nothing seems more abundant than water. In fact, the world is confronting a global water shortage that could make the oil crisis trivial by comparison. To put the problem in perspective, it takes a staggering 11,000 litres of water to feed the cow it takes to make one McDonald`s quarter pounder. As Fred Pearce warns, "The planet is running out of water." Many of the world`s most powerful rivers have been so devastated by consumption and irrigation drain-off that they no longer reach the sea. Two-thirds of all the world`s supply of water is used to irrigate crops. It takes enough water to fill one hundred bathtubs to irrigate the cotton fields required to make one t-shirt. When the Rivers Run Dry is a journey into the world water crisis. Internationally acclaimed environmental writer and water authority Pearce traverses the globe in this eye-opening portrait of what is fast becoming the planet`s most serious potential catastrophe. From Canada and Texas to India and Palestine, Pearce examines in fascinating and compelling detail how galloping, un-regulated consumption, economic greed and political indifference are putting the world`s water systems at grave risk. As important, the implications of a shortage will have--in fact, already have had--profound and serious consequences on the fragile international political situation. Though the warning signs are dire, Pearce passionately contends that they point to the solutions that will avert the crisis and put the world on the path of sustained and renewable consumption. It`s a challenge we cannot afford to ignore.

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About the Author:

Fred Pearce is a former news editor at New Scientist. Currently that magazine's environment and development consultant, he has also written for Audubon, Popular Science, Time, the Boston Globe, and Natural History. His books include With Speed and Violence, When the Rivers Run Dry, Keepers of the Spring, Turning Up the Heat, and Deep Jungle. He lives in England.

From Booklist:

*Starred Review* From the Amazon to the Nile, the Congo to the Colorado, the rivers of the world are running dry. Forget oil: nations have gone to war over water rights and access in the past, and may be forced to do so again as the availability and purity of this vital resource continues to decline. Unlike fossil fuels, water is considered a renewable resource, an erroneous belief that has contributed to its abuse and misuse by superpowers and Third World countries alike. Yet as aquifers are tapped to extinction, rivers dammed to depletion, and wetlands converted to deserts, societies continue to employ the profligate water management techniques that created the current dire situations. Former New Science news editor Pearce cogently presents the alarming ways in which this ecological emergency is affecting population centers, human health, food production, wildlife habitats, and species viability. Having crisscrossed the globe to research the economic, scientific, cultural, and political causes and ramifications of this underpublicized tragedy, Pearce's powerful imagery, penetrating analyses, and passionate advocacy make this required reading for environmental proponents and civic leaders everywhere. Carol Haggas
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