Sunday, March 14, 2010

A world tour of hydrological madness

If ever I were to write a book on water, this could be the one. When the Rivers Run Dry seems an unfinished title for an unflinching look at the current water crises across the world. Fred Pearce, an accomplished science writer, elucidates the remaining half of the title in ten riveting sections to the book. Based on author's travels across thirty countries, the book provides most complete portrait of growing hydrological crises and its widespread ramifications for us all.

Pearce contends that the West is committing hydrological suicide with its water 'footprint'. One ton of water for drinking, about 50 to 100 tons around the home and as much as 2,000 tons to grow the crops that feed and clothe a person during a year cannot sustain humanity for long. And if you buy a t-shirt made of Pakistani cotton, eat Thai rice or drink coffee from Costa Rica, you may be helping reduce flow in the Indus, the Mekong and in the Amazon. Called 'virtual water trade', it uses about 1,000 cubic kilometers of water annually or the equivalent of 20 River Niles....more

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