Academic journal article Electronic Green Journal

Review: The World's Water: The Biennial Report on Freshwater Resources 2002-2003

Academic journal article Electronic Green Journal

Review: The World's Water: The Biennial Report on Freshwater Resources 2002-2003

Article excerpt

Review: The World's Water: The Biennial Report on Freshwater Resources 2002-2003 By Peter Gleick, et al. Reviewed by Ryder W. Miller San Francisco, California, USA Peter Gleick, et al. The World's Water: The Biennial Report on Freshwater Resources 2002-2003. Washington, DC: Island Press, 2002. ISBN 1-55963- 949-0. US$32.50. Recycled Acid Free Paper.

There are two possible paths before us, Peter Gleick in the third The World's Water points out. We must decide between the "soft" path and the "hard" path to manage our fresh water resources. In Gleick's and contributor Gary Wolff's words "the 'hard' path-relies almost exclusively on centralized infrastructure and decision making: dams and reservoirs, pipelines and treatment plants, water departments and agencies. It delivers water, mostly of potable quality, and takes away wastewater. The second path-the 'soft' path-may also rely on centralized infrastructure, but complements it with extensive investment in decentralized facilities, efficient technologies, and human capital. It strives to improve the overall productivity of water use rather than seek endless sources of new supply. It delivers diverse water services matched to the users' needs and works with water users at local and community scales" (p. 1).

In the developing world more than one billion people live without access to fresh water and 2.5 billion without access to proper sanitation. Gleick and Wolff write: "half the world's population still suffers with water services inferior to those available to the ancient Greeks and Romans" (p. 2). An estimated 10 to 20 thousand children die each day of preventable waterrelated diseases. Water remains a security issue, and wars will probably continue to be fought over it. …

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