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   The Atlas of Water
Reviewed by Sudhirendar Sharma
07 Jan 2010

Fluid facts

All that you ever wanted to know about water in its diverse manifestations is visually packaged in The Atlas of Water. Using vivid graphics, maps, and charts, it explores the complex human interaction with water over time and across the world. This vibrant atlas addresses all the pressing issues concerning water, from human impacts like dams and construction to water shortage and excessive demand, pollution, privatization, and water management. It also outlines critical tools for managing water, providing safe access to water, and preserving the future of the world's water supply.

A compact and handy companion book, it furnishes ready-to-use data and information on the status of the life-saving fluid. The data is startling; it could make you wonder how unequal the world has been when it comes to sharing water. Average daily household consumption of water in Australia is 282 liters. In contrast, an average Ethiopian has access to only 13 liters. While 60 per cent of all rivers in the world have been dammed, hydroelectric energy contributes only 17 per cent of the global power supply. You wonder if all the displacement on account of dam building is worth the effort. Apart from all this, The Atlas of Water has processed data to make some potent statements.

Divided into six parts, each prefaced with an introductory essay, the authors have investigated the nature of the resource itself, through its uses in all kinds of human activity, to the vexed questions of how to manage water well and avoid the threat of 'water conflicts'. Maggie Black and Jannet King have stood up to their reputation as writers on issues related to water and sanitation in fuelling 'life' into dry 'data'. Given the valuable information it offers, The Atlas of Water is worth its price.

The Atlas of Water by Maggie Black and Jannet King, Earthscan, UK, 128 pages, $21.95


 
 Other books reviewed by Dr Sudhirendar Sharma
Features > Book Shelf
 
Spoiling Tibet
Posting Date: 28 Feb 2014

A Journey in the Future of Water
Posting Date: 28 Feb 2014

Yamuna Manifesto
Posting Date: 28 Feb 2014

 
Corruption Watch

The bad news is that corruption has not only sustained but has grown in size and stature in the country. With scams being a regular feature, seventy per cent respondents in a survey have rightfully opined that corruption has continued to increase in India. One in every two interviewed admit having paid a bribe for availing public services during last one year. Transparency International's latest survey reveals that the political parties top the chart for the most corrupt public institutions, followed by police force and legislatures. No wonder, India continues to make new records on the global corruption arena!

The shocking revelation is that the health and education sectors haven't remained untouched by this phenomenon. With 5th and 6th positions respectively for these sectors on the public perception chart on corruption, corruption has crept insidiously into these sectors of hope for the masses. With bureaucracy being fourth in the list of corrupt institutions in the country, corruption seems to have been non-formally institutionalized with little hope if public services would ever be effective in the country. With economic growth having literally institutionalized corruption, are we now expecting corrupt to be socially responsible - a different CSR.

Poor. Who?

Not giving 'aid' to India is one thing but calling it 'rich' is quite another. If one in three of the world's malnourished children live in India, what does average daily income of $3 indicate? It perhaps means that there is a relative decline in poverty - people are 'less poor' than what they used to be in the past. But having crossed the World Bank arbitrary threshold of $2 a day does not absolve the 'developed' countries of their obligation to part with 0.7 per cent of their Gross National Income in development aid. Should this three-decade old figure not be revised?  

An interesting debate in UK's House of Commons delved on future of development assistance by the British Government. While prioritizing limited resources has been a concern, there has been no denying the fact that development aid must be guided towards tangible gains over a short period of time to start with. There are difficult choices for elected governments to make - should they invest in long-term primary education or in short-term university scholarships? Which of these will bring gains and trigger long-term transformation in the society. As politicians continue to be divided on the matter, poverty persists!!   

Lead View
People, Partition and the Pain
By Rina Mukherji
15 Aug 2013

Dr Jayanti Basu's book analyzes the complex feelings of hatred and longing for the homeland that have contributed to shaping the personalities of a generation of people who were forced to ..
Book Shelf

Yamuna Manifesto

A Journey in the Future of Water

Spoiling Tibet

On Western Terrorism
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Carmen Miranda
Pandurang Hegde
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