Top positive review
Some Rivers Are Now Dry and More Soon to Follow
Reviewed in the United States on April 13, 2015
When I read this book in 2008 I found it well organized and he articulately reviews not only the major rivers of the world but also wet lands and aquifers. From the perspective of 2006, when the book was finished, it is a compendium of what has gone wrong and some disturbing projections of what might happen if the global society did not address water issues. Since the original publication the western United States has slipped into a mega-drought, Sao Paolo, Brazil's largest city has almost run out of water, Syria entered a multi-year drought which some argue is the genesis of the civil war and the rise of ISIS and the United States continues to water mine the Ogallala Aquifer for water to grow corn to produce energy inefficient ethanol. As the song from the 60s notes "When Will They Ever Learn?"
This is a book that demands an update 2nd edition. Many of the problems Mr.Pearce described have come to pass while others wait on the sidelines. The 4/13/15 front page headline of the NY Times is a picture of a rancid ditch that was once the mighty Rio Grande. Although this would not be surprising to anyone who read his book it appears as breaking "news" to many, not the least being elected politicians. Survival instruction talks about the rule of threes that if not observed will result in death: 3 minutes without air, 3 days without water and 3 weeks without food. Global food stocks are at historic lows and it is easy to imagine loss of potable water leading to a loss of food and should that occur we will see a loss of social coherence. Mark Twain said it best: "Whiskey is for drinking, Water is for Fighting" and as Fred Pearce noted the battles are already underway.