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When the Rivers Run Dry: Water – The Defining Crisis of the Twenty-First Century

New Edition

By: Fred Pearce(Author)

368 pages, no illustrations

Beacon Press

Paperback | Aug 2018 | Edition: 2 | #244083 | ISBN-13: 9780807054895
Availability: Usually dispatched within 1 week Details
NHBS Price: £23.99 $32/€27 approx

About this book

A new edition of the veteran science writer's groundbreaking work on the world's water crisis, featuring all-new reporting from the most recent global flashpoints

Throughout history, rivers have been our foremost source of fresh water for both agriculture and individual consumption, but looming water scarcity threatens to cut global food production and cause conflict and unrest. In this visionary book, Fred Pearce takes readers around the world on a tour of the world's rivers to provide our most complete portrait yet of the growing global water crisis and its ramifications for us all. With vivid on-the-ground reporting, Pearce deftly weaves together the scientific, economic, and historic dimensions of the water crisis, showing us its complex origins – from waste to wrong-headed engineering projects to high-yield crop varieties that have saved developing countries from starvation but are now emptying their water reserves. Pearce argues that the solution to the growing worldwide water shortage is more efficiency and a new water ethic based on managing the water cycle for maximum social benefit rather than narrow self-interest.

Fred Pearce is an artist with a pen, writing beautifully and movingly about an emerging crisis that will galvanize the world's attention. - James Speth, ex head of blue-chip World Resources Institute and the UN Development Programme, and now dean of Yale School of Environmental Studies:"


Introduction: The Power of a River

I. When the rivers run dry . . . the poor take to the road
1. The Human Sponge
2. Lake Chad
3. Sahel
4. Riding the Water Cycle

II. When the rivers run dry . . . America loses the West
5. Rio Grande
6. Colorado
7. California

III. When the rivers run dry . . . the wet places die
8. Mekong
9. Seas of Death
10. England

IV. When the rivers run dry . . . we mine our children's water
11. India
12. Overpumping the World
13. Bangladesh

V. When the rivers run dry . . . engineers pour concrete
14. Wonders of the World
15. The New Dam Era
16. Sun, Silt, and Stagnant Ponds

VI. When the rivers run dry . . . floods may not be far behind
17. China
18. Unleashing the River Dragon
19. Changing Climate

VII. When the rivers run dry . . . we go to war over water
20. Honduras
21. Palestine
22. River Jordan
23. Egypt
24. Iraq
25. Mesopotamia
26. Tibet

VIII. When the rivers run dry . . . civilizations fall
27. Elisha's Spring and the Riddle of Angkor
28. Aral Sea

IX. When the rivers run dry . . . we try to catch the rain
29. Harvesting the Monsoons
30. Oman
31. Iran

X. When the rivers run dry . . . we go looking for new water
32. Taking the Water to the People
33. Singapore
34. Out of Thin Air
35. Seeding Clouds and Desalting the Sea

XI. When the rivers run dry . . . we should go with the flow
36. Europe
37. Ganges and Mississippi
38. More Crop per Drop
39. Colombia
40. Water Ethics


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Fred Pearce has reported on environmental, science, and development issues from eighty-five countries over the past twenty years. Environment consultant at New Scientist since 1992, he also writes regularly for The Guardian and Yale University's prestigious e360 website. His many books include With Speed and Violence, Confessions of an Eco Sinner, Peoplequake: Mass Migration, Ageing Nations and the Coming Population Crash, The Land Grabbers, The New Wild, and Fallout. He lives in London.

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