What is the worst that can happen to a river? That it vanishes, and all its life vanishes with it: the people, the plants, the animals: not just the fish, but the crops, the cattle, the forests, the everything. All are made mostly of water. Look around: what is in that leaf, that spider, that deer, that petal? Water. And although many animals and (mostly tiny) plants live in the sea in salt water, it is the fresh water in the land, derived from rain, which supports us and our main natural resources.
This series of books takes different aspects of rivers and begins to explain each.
For most of human history, on most of the land, there has been sufficient, ample, or too much water. Excess water means flooded land, with all that that entails of damage to life and property. It means saturated soils in the wet or rainy season, so (until recent technology) rheumatics or arthritis and a whole show of damp-enhanced diseases: of people, livestock and crops. As the population increases, so people want more water. Livestock (whose numbers have dramatically increased to serve increased demand) may do so also, but in view of the enormous herds of wild animals formerly (whose numbers have decreased), it is difficult to say water demand here has increased. But when water has to be carried into houses, that is inconvenient and heavy. Stop for a few moments and think what you, the reader, would not do if you had to carry water in.
The worst threat to our environment is from the loss of fresh water, even when compared with the loss of rainforests, climate change, and air pollution. Without water, all life disappears.
Water Usage 2
Abstraction and Drainage Systems 4
Managing Obstructions to Water Flow 8
Ponds of Village and Field 9
Slowing Water Flow 11
Moving Water About 14
Drying Up (and more) examples 18
England’s Largest Wetlands 38
About the Authors 39