Abstract

Dry Run: Preventing the Next Urban Water Crisis , J. Yudelson . New Society Publishers , P.O. Box 189, Gabriola Island, British Columbia, Canada V0R 1X0 . 2010 . 304 pages. $25 . ISBN 978-0-8657-1670-4 . Jerry Yudelson believes that “To avert an urban water crisis, as a society we need to reduce our total water footprint by modifying our patterns of water use” (p. 20). To help us achieve this, Dry Run: Preventing the Next Urban Water Crisis weaves together numerous examples from around the world of how national, state, and local governments are meeting present urban water shortage challenges. Yudelson is an accomplished writer in the field of green building, with 11 books on the subject. Dry Run is his first foray into the wonderful world of water and my introduction to his work. It did not take me long to realize that Yudelson brings a high degree of practicality to his writing. Sure, many of the policies that he advocates are a far stretch from mainstream United States water policy, but when it comes to his intended audience and the types of results that he beckons them to achieve, you will find him steering repeatedly toward tangibles. Throughout the book he focuses on everyday people, from building managers to gardeners, who are in a position to make decisions that affect the way people use water in towns and cities. In fact, Yudelson’s inclination for pragmatism is seen in his explanation for the narrow scope of his book on water sustainability. He acknowledges that Dry Run ignores the largest categories of water use – agriculture, power generation, and industrial production. Yet in Dry Run, he has devoted a full-length, thoughtful analysis to the smallest category of water use – buildings, such as our homes, offices, schools, retail, etc. Why? The easy answer might be because of his expertise in the green building industry (he does acknowledge that this piqued his curiosity). Yet Yudelson shows his practical side when he reveals the true reason is that the smallest category of water use is the use “in some ways that is the easiest and most cost effective to change” (p. 13) in part because of the “current political, economic, and environmental context” (p. xviii). The scope of this book distinguishes Dry Run from other water sustainability manuscripts published today and in recent years. To the extent that there are other texts that focus, like Dry Run, on water use and reuse in our urban areas, they are likely not nearly as accessible to the general public. He has taken what other authors who are focused on water use or sustainability would only spend a chapter or two on and devoted an entire book to it. The result is a must-read text for anyone interested in taking a closer look at the role that this sector of society must play in the discussion on water in our changing world. The task in Dry Run should not be underestimated in light of the narrow scope relative to the larger water sustainability context. On the contrary, Dry Run covers much ground in its three parts, “The Coming Water Crisis,”“The Colors of Water,” and “Preventing the Next Urban Water Crisis,” and will leave readers better informed and in a position to pose intelligent questions about some of the most complicated urban challenges of our time. Part of the reason I selected Dry Run to read is because it catered to my interests in issues of water scarcity generally and expanding my understanding of technologies for treating and reusing water. In Part II: The Colors of Water, Yudelson provides a succinct but thorough overview of “blue water” (drinkable quality), “gray water,”“brown water,”“black water,” and “green water” (used for landscaping), culminating with an introduction to “zen water” (zero water projects), and “new water” (desalination and reclaimed wastewater). He covers each of these topics from the perspective of building construction or redevelopment, rather than with respect to municipal systems or industry. Anyone interested in an introduction to green infrastructure or low impact development technologies will find Dry Run offers a quality overview of these subjects. Others who have greater expertise in water technologies will likely find new examples through Yudelson’s discussion of them in the context of our built environment. For example, the chapter on “Zen Water,” includes a profile on the Living Building Challenge (LBC), a certification program for green buildings. The LBC includes 16 prerequisites for building certification, including two that deal with water: (1) “all occupant water use must come from ‘capture precipitation or closed-loop water systems,’” and (2) “tall stormwater and building water discharge to be managed onsite” (p. 169). The discussion includes a fairly detailed overview of two buildings that, at the time of publication, were working toward LBC certification. These include the Tyson Living Learning Center on the campus of Washington University in Eureka, Missouri, and the Omega Center for Sustainable Living in Rhinebeck, New York. Dry Run is an excellent source for valuable overviews of a variety of urban water use concepts, but this is by no means a detailed “how to” book. For example, in Chapter 10, “Black Water,” Yudelson introduces composting toilets to the reader with an overview of their function and where they have appeared on the North American landscape. However, if the reader is interested in learning about the level of effort necessary to install and maintain composting toilets, other sources will be necessary. This is not to say that Yudelson’s introduction to the wide-ranging topics in the book is not useful. The nature and depth of coverage the author provides is appropriate for a book that covers so much ground. Also, there are exceptions to this rule. Chapter 9 is one instance where he does offer a greater level of detail for those readers interested in gaining a deeper understanding of how to implement the practices introduced in the book. Here Yudelson explains several of the steps involved in setting up a water harvesting system that will flush toilets and suggests a resource for more detailed information (p. 126). At times Dry Run feels like a data dump without reconnecting the reader to the point of it all – that we are on the brink of an urban water crisis, as Yudelson puts it. He saves this point mostly for the opening and closing of the book, with only sporadic mention of it in between, leaving time for the reader to potentially get lost in a sea of technical overviews and case studies that lack a clear connection to the larger context. The author’s greatest strength in weaving these chapters together, however, is his ability to present technical information about water systems, construction, and management practices in an easily accessible format. He has brought together examples from all over the world to provide a concise, thorough overview of the subject matter that he tackles, which should leave a beginner reader feeling well informed and an experienced reader feeling renewed. By the close of the book, in Part III: Preventing the Next Urban Water Crisis, Yudelson does skillfully manage to tie it all together, bringing any readers who may have begun thinking that they were reading a book about cutting edge technology for building construction, waste treatment, and lawn care, back to the central purpose of the manuscript – to facilitate urgent change in the way that we use and conserve water in order to prevent water crises. Chapter 14 covers four case studies of cities that are ripe for further review, depending on the reader’s interests and required level of detail. Leading us through these four cities (San Antonio, Los Angeles, Austin, and Oakland) Yudelson illustrates that, not only is it possible for crises to be avoided, but that there are “common features that seem to be ahead of the pack,” such as price structure to reward conservation and clear communication to consumers (p. 207). In the following chapter, the author lays out a 10-step program and encourages grassroots advocacy to bring it to life in your community. The steps include principles such as water recycling, reducing water use in homes and on lawns, and introducing water pricing structures. The program is designed for applicability to “individuals, companies, nonprofits, government, and the design and construction community, with each action leading to water and energy savings” (p. 209). Yudelson runs the risk of alienating a few key constituencies in his quest to make Dry Run a home run for individuals and the design and construction community. I found myself wishing that more attention was paid to the connection between the urban water crisis and water quality, a key issue for policy makers and urban planners. Water quality receives only a few brief nods from the author over the course of more than 230 pages. Also, with the exception of his brief discussion of the water dispute in Georgia, Alabama, and Florida, Yudelson offers little to persuade a reader that concern about the next urban water crisis extends beyond the arid American West. Nevertheless, the depth and breadth of the topics covered in Dry Run, from private water utilities to the water/energy nexus, will keep this book on my shelf for years to come. Rebecca Roose, Esq. College Park, Maryland 20742-3021 Water Resources , S.C. Anisfeld . Island Press , 1718 Connecticut Ave. NW, Ste. 300, Washington, D.C. 20009-1148 . 2010 . 330 pages . ISBN 978-1-59726-495-2 . Are you looking for a book introducing water resources with a focus on global water crisis? This is a book you may want to read or collect. It would also be suitable reading material for students and professionals who are interested in water management. The book consists of 14 chapters, starting with an introductory chapter and ending with a concluding chapter (1 and 14). Chapters 2 and 3 provide basic scientific background necessary for understanding the remaining 10 chapters of the book, which introduce the 10 interrelated components of the water crisis (i.e., flooding, scarcity, change, technology, ecosystem degradation, human health, agriculture, industry, inefficiency and inequity, and conflict). In the last chapter, the author summarizes what we need to do to ease the water crisis toward each of the 10 components discussed in previous chapters. Chapter 2 provides the foundation of biophysical knowledge for the rest of the book and helps readers develop a good understanding of some basic concepts including the hydrologic cycle (e.g., precipitation, evapotranspiration, etc.), linkages between surface water and groundwater, watershed, the variation in hydrologic properties as a function of scale, different units measuring pollutant concentrations, difference in types of pollutant and their contributing sources, point source permit, factors that shape river channel, and the ways that energy cycles through food chains. Chapter 3 presents an overview of water availability and water use from global to local scales. Readers would have an appreciation of the complexities of defining water availability and use, as well as the spatial and temporal variability in water availability and geographic distribution of water supply and demand. Chapters 4 and 5 address two major water problems – too much water (floods) and too little water (scarcity). Chapter 4 starts with introducing some commonly used terminology such as frequency analysis, 100-year floods, recurrence level, and then investigates the flooding impacts in terms of annual increasing trend. Most discussions in this chapter were given to flood management and the ways to reduce our vulnerability to floods. Chapter 5 explores various aspects of water scarcity, including definitions of scarcity, assessing water scarcity at global, country, grid, and river basin scales, groundwater overdrafts, and droughts. Two water scarcity indicators, Falkenmark and WTA (withdrawal to availability), were introduced and compared in terms of their strengths and weakness. In order to solve the water scarcity problems, there are generally three paths: increase supply, decrease demand, or relocate water for greater efficiency. Chapter 6 first addresses a linked issue of population growth and climate, and then discusses three different types of land use change (i.e., deforestation, urbanization, and desertification) and their effects on water resources. Changes in climate, land use, and population are all important factors in water problems although they differ in some ways. Changes in land uses and population have already affected water issues greatly, while the effect of climate is mostly remaining as a global concern about the future. Both land use and climate issues are ultimately driven by population growth. What they have in common is that they pose significant challenges to future water availability in a world already facing water scarcity. Chapter 7 examines the technological choices in addressing the challenges of water scarcity by investigating several water technologies in detail (i.e., dams, water transport, virtual water trade, wastewater reclamation, desalination, and rainwater harvesting), and discusses what technologies to be chosen depending on their scale, social and environmental implications, and ability to address different aspects of water problems. Understanding water problems can help make better choices and utilize a combination of technologies for sustainable water management and use. Chapter 8 summarizes the human impacts on aquatic ecosystem at the global scale, and discusses hydrological (hydrologic alternation), physical (e.g., channelization), chemical (water quality), and biological (biotic degradation) impacts on aquatic ecosystems on the local scale. Human activities have always affected aquatic ecosystems and the scale of impacts have expanded dramatically in recent centuries. But there is still much we can do to restore and protect our aquatic ecosystems. Chapter 9 starts by introducing six overlapping tools: source protection, water treatment, testing, water distribution, sanitation, and sewage treatment, followed by a detailed discussion of the household water and sanitation issues in both developed and developing countries and how they might be improved. The natural groundwater contaminants (arsenic and fluoride) are examined along with the bottled water industry. The potential for water conservation in household water use is analyzed at the end of the chapter. Chapter 10 presents the fact that agriculture requires a great amount of water and its associated important practical and political consequences, and then discusses the successes and shortcomings of the Green Revolution, the recent history and current agricultural development as well as ways to increase the productivity of agricultural water, and the issue of agricultural pollution. Chapter 11 covers the water quantity and quality issues associated with the industrial sector. In its first section, it deals with multiple linkages between energy and water from perspectives such as fossil fuel extraction, thermoelectric power plants, hydropower, and bioenergy. In the second section, it deals with water impacts of other industrial sectors, including manufacturing and forestry. With an understanding of individual sectors, Chapter 12 examines four topics related to the roles of economics in water management: markets, pricing, privatization, and cost-benefit analysis, which are among the most polarized issues in the entire water arena. Chapter 13 addresses the issue of conflict and corporation both internationally and within the United States (U.S.) and how different countries, states, and users share water resources at international and subnational scales are examined. As a hydrologist, I have benefited by gaining a broader view of water issues existing in the U.S. and worldwide through reading this book. There are many discussions throughout the chapters that provide good judgments that can be valuable for water professionals in examining our water management strategies and policies. For instance, I particularly like the statement (in Chapter 4): “flood control has encouraged development in flood prone areas, which in turn has created a strong imperative to invest more and more in flood control. When flood protection has failed, the response has often been to build it higher and stronger, rather than to rethink the effort.” The only flaw I have found is a missing period between “…contaminant” and “water distribution…” in the last paragraph of Section 9.1 on page 171. In addition, it is my opinion that the U.S. drinking water standard for arsenic from 50 to 10 μg/l is an increase in its standard, not to lowering the standard as said by the author in the second paragraph under Arsenic on page 193 in Chapter 9. Lei Yang, Ph.D., P.E. Project Engineer HSW Engineering, Inc. 3820 Northdale Blvd., Ste. 210B Tampa, Florida 33624 Estimating Groundwater Recharge , R.W. Healy . Cambridge University Press , 32 Avenues of the Americas, New York, New York 10013 . 2010 . 245 pages. $99 . ISBN 978-0-521-86396-4 . Richard Healy has not only provided a comprehensive guide to estimating groundwater recharge, but he has also provided a text that will lead to a better appreciation and understanding of the complexities of groundwater recharge. A wide range of professional disciplines ranging from engineers and hydrogeologists to agronomists and water resource specialists and managers will find Estimating Groundwater Recharge a must-have tool and reference. In Chapter 1, the author covers both basic terminology and a brief overview of the rest of the text. More importantly, Healy emphasizes the need for developing a conceptual model of recharge processes that are involved in the area of interest and an appreciation of the uncertainties associated with estimates derived from the selected model. At the end of Chapter 1, Healy provides realistic and valuable insight on developing estimation models: “It should be kept in mind that more expensive does not always mean better or more accurate.” Chapter 2 provides an overview of water-budget methods, with a focus on the “residual” approach, for developing recharge estimates at the local-scale, mesoscale, and macroscale. Examples of specific studies provided by Healy in Chapter 2 (i.e., Northwestern Illinois, Southwest India, West Maui) were extremely helpful and provided a better understating of the uncertainties involved in the application of the models used. In Chapter 3, the reader is provided an overview and description of generic models, including unsaturated zone models, water-budget models, watershed models, and groundwater-flow models. Examples are provided in Chapter 3, where these models have been used. Healy cautions on applying a model without conducting “an evaluation a priori to determine whether the benefits obtained from a model justify the costs that will be incurred.” Methods and strategies for dealing with surface-water data are presented in Chapter 4. Methods described in this chapter require data on streamflow, stream stage, and surface-water chemistry. Healy is able to point out fundamental differences and underlying assumptions in the methods described. Chapter 5 provides a discussion of estimates based on physical data within the unsaturated zone. This is followed in Chapter 6 with a discussion on the saturated zone. At the end of Chapter 6, Healy provides some sage advice on the “desirability of applying multiple estimation methods.” In Chapters 7 and 8, methods for estimating groundwater recharge using chemical and heat tracer methods are provided. In the final chapter, Healy links estimation methods that were described in the previous chapter to conceptual models of groundwater recharge. Examples of the application of recharge models are provided for 11 of the groundwater regions of the United States (U.S.). Estimating Groundwater Recharge is recommended for both the experienced groundwater professional and the environmental scientist needing to develop a better understanding of methods and models used for estimating groundwater recharge. This text is highly recommended for graduate studies when combined with problem sets that may be found on a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) webpage (http://wwwbrr.cr.usgs.gov/projects/GW_Unsat/Recharge_Book/). Homer C. Emery, Ph.D. Environmental Science Officer U.S. Army LTC Retired 16 Stafford Court San Antonio, Texas 78217 Precious Commodity: Providing Water for America’s Cities , M.V. Melosi . University of Pittsburgh Press , Eureka Bldg., Fifth Floor, 3400 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15260 . 2011 . 288 pages. $28 . ISBN 978-0-8229-6141-3 . This book by an erudite historian is a remarkable collection of information regarding water-related issues that date back to the 19th and 20th Centuries in the United States (U.S.). Each chapter has a separate focus and emphasis that is aided by an astounding list of references and notes. Specifically, an excellent array of articles and books are listed in seven pages of Further Readings (pp. 203-209). An extensive list of 63 pages of detailed Notes is also included (pp. 211-273). The reader can rest assured that there will be no shortage of references in this book. Chapter 1 provides a background discussion of changing water policies in the U.S. For example, the role of the Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation are delineated in some detail. Chapter 2 focuses on sanitation problems, such as the cholera epidemics in New York City in 1832, 1849, and 1866. Other interesting comments abound, such as the fact that Philadelphia in 1801 was the first city in the U.S. to build a sophisticated water works and municipal distribution system. Appropriate attention is also given to the research of John Snow in the 1850s in London regarding the connection between the polluted water of the Thames and typhoid fever. Other interesting facts in this chapter include credit to Poughkeepsie, New York, in 1870 for building the first sand filter for water purification in the U.S. As befits a historian, the author mentions the development of the International Water History Association in 1999 in Wales (Chapter 3). Additional comments pertain to the privatization of public works in the past several decades that has changed the nature of the water industry. A good discussion of water treatment techniques that started in the late 19th Century and are still continuing is provided. Chapter 4 focuses on the Big Dam Era in the U.S. (1935-1965), including the 26 Tennessee Valley Authority dams, Hoover Dam on the Colorado River (1936), Grand Coulee Dam in Washington (1941), Shasta Dam in California (1944), and Glen Canyon Dam in Arizona (1964). The material on the dams is discussed with the pros and cons of the enormous changes in water use in the western states of the U.S. For example, critics began to take notice of the extent of damages to Indian lands and small farmers who gradually lost out to large users of irrigation water. Although most of the U.S. water supply systems have public operations, a few, such as San Jose in California, have private water distribution systems. Indeed, only about 5% of U.S. cities had privately owned water systems. The gist of Chapter 5 focuses on the increasing public management of water during the 19th Century. This chapter contains an enormous amount of detail on local issues in San Jose as compared to discussions of major city developments in water systems, such as New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Regrettably, not even one map is provided in the San Jose discussions to assist the reader. It is simply not fair to many of the readers to presume that they would know the size, length, and direction of the numerous local streams in the area and thereby follow the detailed discussion. In sum, this chapter focuses on agricultural areas in the San Jose region with enormous attention to local politics. Why larger cities and their water systems were left out is not clear. The bayous in the Houston area form the gist of Chapter 6. Interesting material about Houston is included in this chapter, but most of it does not seem to pertain to the book’s title: Precious Commodity: Providing Water for America’s Cities. Houston is obviously a major U.S. city, but what about water issues in many other metropolitan areas ranging from New York to Los Angeles to Phoenix to Las Vegas? For example, is the detail of the land grants along Buffalo Bayou in the early part of the 19th Century on p. 130 (10 families were mentioned) that necessary? It is of course the choice of the author, but the detail can be overwhelming. In addition, a map of the Buffalo Bayou area was not included in this chapter. Houston’s water and wastewater services form the gist of Chapter 7. The introductory sections of this chapter and earlier ones are terse, interesting, and quite effective in discussing, in carefully written form, the nature of the entire chapter. They are very worthwhile and deserve commendation. The first two maps of the Houston area are shown on pp. 146-147 and show the railroad and roadway infrastructure. Regrettably, information regarding place names, boundary lines, and the purpose of the maps are not included in sufficient detail. The only piece of written information on the maps is a barely readable “Harris County Limit Line.” Maps can convey an enormous amount of useful information, but such is not the case in this chapter. It also would have been useful to indicate that the Colorado River mentioned on p. 154 is in Texas with a drainage area of 42,300 sq mi; it is not the much larger Colorado River (246,000 sq mi) that flows through seven states and a portion of northwestern Mexico. Sewerage system problems in Houston and other U.S. cities are described in detail. It is, of course, appropriate in the context of the book, and one must commend the author for the sheer volume of information. It should also be noted that Houston was particularly susceptible to flooding due to its low elevation, ample annual precipitation (46 inches), and the nature of its local waterways. Figure 7.3 on p. 163 (re: surface water in Houston) does not indicate the meaning of the thicker black lines on the map. A simple legend at the base of the map would help the reader. Many names of rivers and local reservoirs are mentioned on p. 169, but they are difficult to follow without better maps. Figure 7.4 on p. 171 offers minimal information on the Houston area. Chapter 8 on water privatization has some excellent opening points that include properly discussed issues. Pithy statements include the fact that water use on a global scale is expanding faster than population growth, even though the latter is also increasing. Worthwhile comments are made about the estimate that over one billion people have inadequate access to clean water. The chapter contains numerous references to good sources of useful information. It also includes an excellent discussion of water privatization in the U.S. and the world. In sum, the regrettable absence of sufficient maps of a professional quality in a book of this nature that contains so much useful material is an unfortunate omission. However, one must give credit to the author for providing a book that is a veritable fountain of good information about water that is intelligently written. Accordingly, this book is highly recommended. Robert M. Hordon, Ph.D., P.H. 8 Dov Place Kendall Park, New Jersey 08824 Water Security: The Water-Food-Energy-Climate Nexus , The World Economic Forum Water Initiative . Island Press , 1718 Connecticut Ave. NW, Ste. 300, Washington, D.C. 20009-1148 . 2011 . 272 pages . ISBN 13-978-159-726-7366 . Island Press editors have achieved a nearly impossible task. They have brought together the deliberations of numerous world renowned experts in subjects ranging from business, finance, and economics to climate and energy. What is more surprising, the presentations and discussions all focused on the uncertainty of the world’s water supply and were presented over the course of two years (2008-2010) during various summits and meetings in China, Europe, India, Africa, and the Middle East. The first nine chapters explore the intricate links between water and agriculture, energy, trade, national security, cities, people, business, finance, and climate. Editors have used the same framework for each of these nine chapters in outlining the impact that a dwindling water supply will have on each sector. First, background information on the sector being discussed is presented, followed by trends, forecast, implications, and the way forward. Each of these nine chapters concludes with perspectives from some of the top government, business, and environmental experts in the world. Experts providing insights and perspec

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