Review: The Water Atlas–A Unique Visual Analysis of the World’s Most Critical Resource

5 Star, Atlases & State of the World, Water, Energy, Oil, Scarcity
Atlas Water
Amazon Page

2004, needs updating and a web site, July 28, 2008

Robin Clarke

Published in 2004, this is an extraordinary book for its combination of authoritative sources, visualizations, and the plain fact that water, not energy, is the Achilles’ heel of civilization.

The authors are extremely well-qualified, and I really appreciate their source references, many of which are online. Sadly, they have not created a web-site as a companion to the book, and so we are stuck with the best that analog hard copy can do, and no where near the power of digital interactive visualization and modeling.

Normally I would take one star away becuase the publisher has not done their job in listing this book at Amazon. They should have posted the table of contents at a minimum, and ideally also offered Amazon “inside the book” privileges. Below is the table of contents, the easiest way for me to both praise the book and inform prospective buyers.

Part 1: A Finite Resource
Fresh Out of Water
More People, Less Water
Rising Demand
Robbing the Bank

Part 2: Uses and Abuses
Water at Home
Water for Food
Irrigation
Agricultural Pollution
Water for Industry
Industrial Pollution
Water for Power
The Damned

Part 3: Water Health
Access to Water
Sanitation
Dirty Water Kills
Harbouring Disease
Insidious Contamination

Part 4: Re-shaping the Natural World
Diverting the Flow
Draining Wetlands
Groundwater Mining
Expanding Cities
Desperate Measures
Floods
Droughts

Part 5: Water Conflicts
The Need for Cooperation
Pressure Points
Weapon of War

Part 6: Ways Forward
The Water Business
Conserving Supplies
Setting Priorities
Vision of the Future

Part 7: Tables
Needs and Resources
Uses and Abuses

The tables are per capita by country.

See also:
Water: The Fate of Our Most Precious Resource
Blue Frontier: Dispatches from America’s Ocean Wilderness
The Blue Death: Disease, Disaster, and the Water We Drink
Adaptive and Integrated Water Management: Coping with Complexity and Uncertainty

In other fascinating atlases of this type:
The Penguin Atlas of War and Peace: Completely Revised and Updated
Zones of Conflict: An Atlas of Future Wars
An Atlas of Poverty in America: One Nation, Pulling Apart, 1960-2003
Atlas of Sexually Transmitted Diseases and AIDS
The Atlas of Climate Change: Mapping the World’s Greatest Challenge (Atlas Of… (University of California Press))