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The author promises to give a look at the fate of freshwater, but the book is amazingly America-centric. The Ripple Effect The Fate Of Freshwater In The Twentyfirst Century Many countries are facing much larger water issues though the ones here are by no means small Alex Prud'homme. What he found was shocking: as the climate warms and world population grows, demand for water has surged, but supplies of freshwater are static or dropping, and new threats to water quality appear every day. The questions he sought to answer were urgent: Will there be enough water to satisfy demand?
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What are the threats to its quality? What he found was shocking: as the climate warms and world population grows, demand for water has surged, but supplies of fresh water are static or dropping, and new threats to water quality appear every day. What is the state of our water infrastructure—both the pipes that bring us fresh water and the levees that keep it out? How secure is our water supply from natural disasters and terrorist attacks? The questions he sought to answer were urgent: Will there be enough water to satisfy demand?
Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Alex Prud'homme's remarkable work of investigative journalism shows how fresh water is the pressing global issue of the twenty-first century.
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More filters. Sort order. Jul 30, Keith Akers rated it liked it. What I liked about this is that it covered the politics of water very well. The author writes in an engaging style and it reads like a novel. What I didn't like was that the book is hopelessly anecdotal. The stories are great, the politics is well explored, this guy should be a journalist. But the analysis is perfectly awful. The promise of the subtitle "The Fate of Fresh Water in the Twenty-First Century" is not met: the fate of fresh water is mentioned, but not discussed.
In the end I compro What I liked about this is that it covered the politics of water very well. In the end I compromised -- loved the stories, hated the analysis, three stars. If you know absolutely nothing about water issues, this is a great place to start. Even if you know quite a bit but just want to know how the politics of water is evolving, you can benefit.
But if you want a clue as to what the underlying problems are hint: it has something to do with "limits to growth"it's terrible. So your expectations and previous knowledge are important. Early on I was quite impressed and was going to give it five stars, but quickly saw that he was just telling stories albeit good stories.
Skipping ahead to the end, I could see where he was headed: conservation, cloud seeding, desalination, water diversion, etc. I was sufficiently disgusted that I almost put the book down, but then started reading chapters at random. It was great. So here's your first clue about the book: it doesn't matter which chapter you start with, and it doesn't matter which chapter you end with.
It doesn't build. This is both its greatest strength and its greatest weakness. I'm not sure that the author really understands the difference between water use and water consumption, although he seems to be aware of it at some level, because he briefly refers to evaporation issues. Water use is, well, using the water. It may be polluted, but can be used downstream if purified.
Water consumption is water lost to The Ripple Effect The Fate Of Freshwater In The Twentyfirst Century rest of the hydrological cycle. Example: the Colorado River goes dry by the time it gets to the ocean. The political angle which the author adopts means that discussion of agriculture which is by far the most significant water problem we face in the world, period gets short-changed.
This is mostly determined, in the U. There are not as many hot political controversies about livestock agriculture as there are about, say, bottled water, Hurricane Katrina, or Bristol Bay in Alaska. That's because the livestock industry pretty much controls the narrative of agricultural issues in this country. He seems to be aware of these issues, because he mentions meat-centric diets and their effect on water, but it doesn't get much discussion.
His narrative-driven focus, which looks for smoking guns and hot controversies, sacrifices analysis here. And what about the fate of freshwater in the 21st century? Excuse me? Has anyone heard of "limits to growth"?
Water should be the poster child for the whole limits to growth problem. There is only so much water, and because a lot of the water we are using right now is non-renewable groundwater mining, we not only cannot increase agricultural water use very much, we will likely actually need to decrease it. We have overshot the limits which we are only able to get away with by using "fossil water" non-rechargeable groundwater.
Yes, conservation will help, but anyone who thinks we are going to substantially increase agricultural production is dreaming. Also, he says that irrigated agriculture is "notoriously unproductive" p. In terms of value of crops, irrigated agriculture is the most productive agriculture in the world. It is the basis of the Green Revolution.
He has mangled the whole water-energy problem. It takes water to get energy certainly, at least, in Albertaand it also takes energy to get water water diversion projects, desalination, groundwater pumping. We need to look at both the energy return on water invested, as well as the water return on energy invested. If you do this, you will see that Alberta's tar sands can never even come close to providing the oil from "Kuwait, Norway, and Russia combined" p.
Because of water limitations and the energy return on energy invested, which is quite badit is like sucking on a huge resevoir with a minuscule straw. Yes, there's a lot of oil there, but the rate of flow will be quite slow and it would take hundreds of years for this volume of oil to be extracted.
In days of declining budgets, declining financial systems, and decreasing energy supplies, how are you going to build all of these big water diversion projects?
Fresh water will be the defining resource of the 21st Century. Experts call it “the next oil,” The result is THE RIPPLE EFFECT. The book's title.
Do we have the ability, in a post-peak-oil world, even to think about "Flipping the Mississippi"? The whole problem of water just begs for an informed discussion of the fact that water imposes fundamental limits to growth on The Ripple Effect The Fate Of Freshwater In The Twentyfirst Century human economy, especially in conjunction with other resource issues such as peak oil, soil erosion, and climate change.
In fact, I rather doubt that human population will ever reach nine billion people; as David Pimentel suggests, human population will likely go down because of agricultural restraints to something like two to three billion. We need an adult conversation about these issues. Alas, for such a discussion, we will have to wait for a future book.
View all 3 comments. Mar 24, Jennifer rated it it was amazing Shelves: libraryresearchsciencesocial-issueseconomics-and-financehealth-and-medicine. One of the standout ideas in The Ripple Effect is that the wars of this century will be fought over access to fresh water, and by the end of the book, it's a believable proposition. Prud'homme divides the book into sections that cover pollution, drought, and flooding, and the ways those can impact people's lives in the U. The focus is mostly on water issues in America, though he does give a little attention to the rest of the world, and how global water needs can impact a country with seeming One of the standout ideas in The Ripple Effect is that the wars of this century will be fought over access to fresh water, and by the end of the book, it's a believable proposition.
The focus is mostly on water issues in America, though he does give a little attention to the rest of the world, and how global water needs can impact a country with seemingly enough water. He then discusses some of the ways to fill the need for more clean water, like desalination plants and plans to channel water from the east to the western states. By the end, it's clear that the issues are complex, and will require a great deal of compromise and thought--which, given history, is not a terribly reassuring idea.
View 2 comments. Shelves: historybusinessnaturesciencepoliticsjournalism. The Ripple Effect documents a set of problems and conflicts over water; this should be required reading for all involved in the water wars we suffer.
Highest recommendation. Oct 03, Fred Dameron rated it it was amazing. Two big take aways. One: the U. Yes unless you are the first person to use water from a spring it most likely has been used before and has gone through a sewage treatment plant.
Now this cost must apply after infrastructure has been replaced. The cost of replacement infrastructure should be born by the state. What ever that state is. In the case of a city the ci Two big take aways.