Academic journal article Electronic Green Journal

Review: The World's Water 1998-1999. the Biennial Report on Freshwater Resources

Academic journal article Electronic Green Journal

Review: The World's Water 1998-1999. the Biennial Report on Freshwater Resources

Article excerpt

Review: The World's Water 1998-1999. The Biennial Report on Freshwater Resources. By Peter H. Gleick. Gleick, Peter H. The World's Water 1998-1999. The Biennial Report on Freshwater Resources. Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 1998. 307pp. Paper. ISBN: 1-55963-592-4. Recycled, acid-free paper.

Fresh water is essential. In Water (Stodard Pub., 1999), Marq de Villier's noted "if all the world's water were stored in a five-litre container, available fresh water would not quite fill a teaspoon" (31). It is that fraction that is the focus of Peter H. Gleick's biennial report, the first in a comprehensive and timely series on this vital element. Initiating a process of monitoring and education Gleick's book spearheads change in water management, towards "an ethic of sustainability" and equity (33). Gleick is well known as a visionary thinker in the area of water use and he believes many current policies and practices are flawed.

Gleick summarizes crucial issues such as the decommissioning of large dams (and the dangers of private-sector funding of existing projects), the paucity of response to global water needs (and subsequent loss of life and productivity), climate change, international conflict and water supplies and new legislation and policy. Each area is addressed in self-contained chapters, and a Water Briefs section updates recent research, institutions (such as The World Commission on Dams, The World Water Council and others), policy debates and (particularly relevant for this journal), an extensive list of water-focused electronic sites.

Loren Eisely posed a question we might consider today: "As for men, those myriad little detached ponds with their own swimming corpuscular life, what were they but a way that water has of going about beyond the reach of rivers? …

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