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Geoscientist Online

Water Resources – a new water architecture

sghjWater is often cited as the ultimate example of the renewable resource. There’s little doubt that that’s true. The fact remains, however, that more than seven billion people need access to it for very many and wide-ranging purposes. As the world’s population grows, water scarcity and shortage are becoming increasingly common, and will continue to do so. This excellent book sets that all out in the context of the inadequate and inappropriate resource management that, as it says, is “already taking its toll on the quality of life of millions of people”. It also notes that much of the old-style management was valid when the resources available were relatively free of stress – from Roman times until, perhaps, the 20th Century. The problems arose with the arrival of water resource stress, and can only be expected to get worse from here on.

The text is well constructed, comprising sections dealing in turn with the current water resource scene, stresses and strains – covering living, eating, and water consumption, and introducing concepts like water fluxes and virtual water – existing water architecture, and the proposed means of attaining the new architecture. The latter ends with a potential way forward. The great proportion of the text is very well written, although a small amount is slightly shaky, and many of the statistics and facts are fascinating and astounding. It would be reasonable to describe them as shocking, too, if emotional terms seemed fitting.

The text is supported by many figures, tables and breakout boxes, which, between them, go a long way toward clarifying the more complex issues and concepts discussed. My one quibble is that some of the figures – only a few – have been compressed so far that they are quite hard to read. The book deserves better than that, and judicious expansion of selected figures could be used to absorb some of the several blank pages at the end.

This is a well written book on a subject of ever increasing importance – it seems, at best, very unlikely that water stress will go away anytime soon – and is highly recommended. I’m delighted to have it on my shelves and imagine that it might be rather well thumbed in a few years’ time. All chapters end with extensive and useful reference lists, making the book a valuable source of external information, in addition to the stunning statistics in its own first, and rather larger, half.

Reviewed by Jeremy B Joseph

WATER RESOURCES – A NEW WATER ARCHITECTURE by ALEXANDER LANE, MICHAEL NORTON AND SANDRA RYAN, 2017. Published by: Wiley-Blackwell (J W Wiley & Sons), Chichester, UK. ISBN: 978-1-118-79390-9. Hbk. 328 pp. List Price: £99.99. W: https://www.wiley.com/en-gb/Water+Resources:+A+New+Water+Architecture-p-9781118793909