Monday, May 16, 2011

Steven Solomon's thoughts on water scarcity

Steven Solomon is a journalist who has written for the New York Times, Business Week and the Economist. He recently published a book called "Water: The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power and Civilization." The book is a comprehensive history of how various civilizations have built water projects, managed water resources and delivered these resources to the people. In short, it's about water management. I read the book this past December and enjoyed it very much.  David Zetland of Aguanomics wrote a really thorough and informative review of Steven Solomon's book. You can see his review here. Below is an excerpt from David's review:

"Although I enjoyed the historical narrative in Water, I was less-compelled by Solomon's thesis, that success and failure is determined by good water management. Yes, of course, good water management is necessary for continued success, but it is not sufficient.* Success and failure can come from many directions (poor leadership, for example). It would perhaps be more correct to claim that civilizations with good governance also manage water well".

The final section of Solomon's book is about the age of water scarcity which is a more contemporary outlook on how water policy and governance are playing out internationally. There are indeed many water challenges such as the ones he speaks about in the video above. Don't, however, be discouraged by the forthcoming challenges around water and climate change. There is a lot of work to be done. The first step is to start learning about the nature of the water problem; the second, well, I will leave that to you. Read the book if you get around to it.

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