||The Atlas of Water
Reviewed by Sudhirendar Sharma
07 Jan 2010
All that you ever wanted to know about water in its diverse manifestations is visually packaged in The Atlas of Water. Using vivid graphics, maps, and charts, it explores the complex human interaction with water over time and across the world. This vibrant atlas addresses all the pressing issues concerning water, from human impacts like dams and construction to water shortage and excessive demand, pollution, privatization, and water management. It also outlines critical tools for managing water, providing safe access to water, and preserving the future of the world's water supply.
A compact and handy companion book, it furnishes ready-to-use data and information on the status of the life-saving fluid. The data is startling; it could make you wonder how unequal the world has been when it comes to sharing water. Average daily household consumption of water in Australia is 282 liters. In contrast, an average Ethiopian has access to only 13 liters. While 60 per cent of all rivers in the world have been dammed, hydroelectric energy contributes only 17 per cent of the global power supply. You wonder if all the displacement on account of dam building is worth the effort. Apart from all this, The Atlas of Water has processed data to make some potent statements.
Divided into six parts, each prefaced with an introductory essay, the authors have investigated 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'. Maggie Black and Jannet King have stood up to their reputation as writers on issues related to water and sanitation in fuelling 'life' into dry 'data'. Given the valuable information it offers, The Atlas of Water is worth its price.
The Atlas of Water by Maggie Black and Jannet King, Earthscan, UK, 128 pages, $21.95