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When the Rivers Run Dry

Journeys Into the Heart of the World's Water Crisis

by Fred Pearce

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natural resources, ecology
list price: $36.95
category: Nature
published: 2006
publisher: Key Porter Books

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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