Common Reading

2007–08

When The Rivers Run Dry by Fred Pearce

From the Amazon to the Nile, the Congo to the Colorado, the rivers of the world are running dry. Forget oil: nations have gone to war over water rights and access in the past, and may be forced to do so again as the availability and purity of this vital resource continues to decline.

Unlike fossil fuels, water is considered a renewable resource, an erroneous belief that has contributed to its abuse and misuse by superpowers and Third World countries alike. Yet as aquifers are tapped to extinction, rivers dammed to depletion, and wetlands converted to deserts, societies continue to employ the profligate water management techniques that created the current dire situations.

Former New Science news editor Fred Pearce cogently presents the alarming ways in which this ecological emergency is affecting population centers, human health, food production, wildlife habitats, and species viability.

Having crisscrossed the globe to research the economic, scientific, cultural, and political causes and ramifications of this under-publicized tragedy, Pearce's powerful imagery, penetrating analyses, and passionate advocacy make this required reading for environmental proponents and civic leaders everywhere.



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