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The world’s population is increasing; but its supply of water is not. Empires have grown and declined due to discovery and exhaustion of their water sources, and now the West is at last catching on to the fact that abundance of water can no longer be taken for granted. For the last fifty years, wars have been fought over oil; for the next fifty, they may be fought over water (in fact, some local wars already have been). Remarkably, this new book is the first to bring together the ecological, geographical, political and scientific aspects of water. Its author, Professor Paul Younger, is one of the UK’s leading experts on water – a substance of which we consume 150 litres of a day, and in its bottled form are willing to pay more for than for petrol.


In just an hour or two, the reader can pick up the fundamentals on key themes right from the basics of the water molecule through for example to water's linkage to so many human activities and the concerns around climate change, virtual water, and hydrological change. There are some technical parts, such as a few pages on the basics of hydraulics, but so too is there reference to water's cultural importance, a little poetry, and an imaginative '100 ideas' section (whose 'Five organizations to check out if you care about the issues raised in this book' include IWA). There is clearly a wealth of knowledge behind this perspective. Valuable concepts are woven in, such as the need to adopt catchment-based integrated land and water resources management. The result is an engaging and accessible case for why water deserves greater attention.
Keith Hayward, Water21
It is easy and engaging to read, and shows us why water is important to individuals and to societies. It is an important book that should really be read by everyone, especially those studying the environment.
Sue White, Cranford University (in the TES)