Academic journal article Electronic Green Journal

Review: The World's Water, 2000-2001: The Biennial Report on Freshwater Resources

Academic journal article Electronic Green Journal

Review: The World's Water, 2000-2001: The Biennial Report on Freshwater Resources

Article excerpt

Review: The World's Water, 2000-2001: The Biennial Report on Freshwater Resources By Peter H. Gleick Reviewed by Ryder W. Miller San Francisco, USA Peter H. Gleick. The World's Water 2000-2001: The Biennial Report on Freshwater Resources. Washington, DC: Island Press, 2000. 335p. ISBN 1-55963-792-7 (trade paper). US$32.00

Water, which is becoming more and more of a precious substance, is easily wasted when landlords don't get around to fixing leaky faucets, while letting the water run so the shower will be hot, while overflushing the toilet, while running the water enough so the tap water will be cold and drinkable ... In some parts of America we don't need to worry about water, but in other parts of this country and around the world, water is in short supply.

In this second report in the series, Peter Gleick reminds us that, though not usually addressed directly by UN declarations, water is essential enough to fall under the purview of our human rights. Gleick is adept at showing the disparity around the world for access to this resource. The work also instills an appreciation for how precious clean, fresh water is, and how it is integrally related to human health and food production. The disparities of access to fresh water around the world are startling: "more than 1 billion people in the developing world do not have safe drinking water, and nearly 3 billion people live without access to adequate sanitation systems necessary for reducing exposure to water related diseases" (p. 1). Useable, fresh water is only a tiny fraction of the world's water, with 97% of the world's water found in the ocean, and the majority of the remaining fresh water being found in the ice caps. Fresh groundwater comprises only 0.76% of the world's water, and rivers only 0.0002%.

The World's Water 2000-2001 serves as an excellent resource and reference for anyone interested in ascertaining the freshwater resource situation around the world. But the science is imperfect with different researchers coming to different conclusions, and they make different projections about the water that is presently available and will be available in the future. …

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