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The Atlas of Water: Mapping the World's Most Critical Resource

New reference on the world's water

By: Maggie Black and Jannet King

128 pages, colour maps, figures, tables, index


Paperback | Sep 2009 | Edition: 2 | #179632 | ISBN-13: 9781844078271
Temporarily out of stock: order now to get this when available Details
NHBS Price: £15.99 $21/€18 approx

About this book

The planet's finite supply of fresh water is under such pressure that soon it may be the most valuable commodity on earth. The new edition of this crucial and timely atlas shows water distribution worldwide, and reflects the latest thinking and emerging issues.

With updated data throughout, the atlas covers a wide range of topics to map how our limited water resources are shared and used around the world, as well as the challenges posed to their management by today's unprecedented population and environmental pressures. It includes completely new maps on climate change, water for tourism, dam construction, biodiversity, and water management, commerce and legislation. With snapshots of especially vulnerable areas and major polluters as well the global picture, this is a unique resource for general readers as well as policy makers and students.

Divided into six parts, each prefaced with an introductory essay, the atlas investigates the nature of the resource itself, through its uses in all kinds of human activity, to the vexed questions of how to manage water well and avoid the threat of 'water conflicts'.

'An indispensable guide to a vital issue.' Scientific and Medical Network Review 'Visually ingenious.' OXFAM Development Resources Review 'A very attractive and useful book...Highly recommended.' New Agriculturalist 'Provides a fascinating look at the state of water in our world and can be considered a must-read for anyone grappling with this complex topic.' The Sierra Club Green Life Blog 'I hope - if only in a small way - that I can encourage people to read and learn from this book. It is accessible to a wide range of readers from school children upwards and presents information and analysis in a clear and attractive 'atlas' format [and is] clearly of great value for researchers, practitioners such as myself, water policy makers and their advisers.' Mike Woolgar, Waterlines 'Attractively presented and easy to understand... all the maps an associated texts are interesting and pertinent.' HealthMatters 'An excellent handbook' The Economist 'I hope...that I can encourage people to read and learn from this book. It is accessible to a wide range of readers from school children upwards...the contents of the book are...all one could hope for.' Mike Woolgar, Waterlines, July 2010.


Part I: A Finite Resource;
1 The Global Water Pot;
2 Water Shortage;
3 Rising Demand;
4 Dwindling Supply;
5 Competition and Conflict.;
6 Climate Change;
Part II: Environmental Pressures;
7 Urbanization;
8 Altered Flows;
9 Draining Wetlands;
10 Drylands and Droughts;
11 Floods;
Part III: Water for Living;
12 Water for Drinking;
13 Water for Sanitation;
14 Water at Home;
15 Water and Disease;
16 Harbouring Disease;
17 Water for Food;
18 Dispossession by Water;
Part IV: Water for Economic Production;
19 Irrigation;
20 Water for Industry;
21 Water for Energy;
22 Water for Fisheries;
23 Transport and Leisure;
24 Water for Sale;
Part V: Damaged Water;
25 Water Pollutants;
26 Water Pollution;
27 Damaged Waterways;
28 Threatened Ecologies;
Part VI: Water for the Future;
29 MDGs;
30 Treaties and Obligations;
31 Deepening Cooperation;
32 Managing Water Resources;
33 Water Footprint;
34 Water at a Price;
35 Technological Fixes;
Part VII: Data Tables;
Needs and Resources;
Uses and Abuses;
Useful Conversions;
Useful Sources;

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Maggie Black is a writer on international issues and the author of several books on water and sanitation. Jannet King was co-author, with Robin Clarke, of the first edition of the atlas. She has spent many years researching and editing political and historical atlases, including the award-winning Atlas of Food, Atlas of Endangered Species, and the State of the World Atlas.

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