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   A Journey in the Future of Water
Reviewed by Sudhirendar Sharma
28 Feb 2014
mass wastage and competing demands, water is presumed to be the precursor of a probable 'third world war'. Situations with respect to water sharing amidst several countries is perilously close to what Mark Twain had remarked, 'whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting over'. It seems the universal fluid that will shape humanity's future is soaked on blood.

Not deterred by threatening climate clouds that may accelerate glacial melting and transform water flows in major river basins, Terje Tvedt portrays an optimistic picture on humanity's water future after traveling through some of the most amazing locations across five continents. With professional background in geography, history and political science, the author offers multiple perspectives for the reader to choose from. While Tvedt is forthright in saying that 'howsoever grandiose attempts to manage water may be, water does not allow itself to be completely controlled', he is equally candid in concluding that 'qualified technological optimism is the only optimism that endures'.

Placing his immensely readable narrative on water in three distinct sections, the author views the impact of 'water blindness' across countries; examines implications of 'water control' in contested river basins; and presents power of science and technology to usher in a bright 'water future'. Tvedt avoids taking an ideological position on whether the glass is half full or half empty, instead leaves it for the reader to make an objective assessment on the impending water crises. Howsoever the world might respond to the imminent crises, water fundamentally binds together the past and the future in expressing a deep continuity of our whole evolution as a species.

Despite the fact that Tvedt's original writing in Norwegian was published in 2007, the English translation by Richard Daly published in 2014 is refreshingly original. More than a travelogue it is an authoritative treatise on water that makes a compelling reading. It is one book that I intend keeping on my bedside; to use it as a ready reckoner on exotic places should an opportunity arise for this reviewer to undertake similar travels. If I am sounding envious of Terje Tvedt so be it. At least, I am learning about global responses to water issues in the process.

A Journey in the Future of Water
by Terje Tvedt
I.B.Tauris, UK
Extent: 262, Price: 14.99

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

Yamuna Manifesto
Posting Date: 28 Feb 2014

The Kingdom at the Centre of the World
Posting Date: 02 Jan 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
Devinder Sharma
Carmen Miranda
Pandurang Hegde
Sudhirendar Sharma
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