February… it's the month we celebrate love and it's still wintertime so you may be cuddled up with a book, perhaps under a blanket, and by the fire. In the spirit of this column being about WATER- I want to share a quick overview of some critically-acclaimed books about water - ranging from the struggles of water security, to the history and future of water systems, to amusing and educational children's books.
Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water (1986; revised in 1992) by Marc Reisner
A landmark book presenting the story of the settling of the American West, and its relentless quest for the most precious of resources: water. It relates the tale of rivers diverted and dammed, of political corruption and intrigue around water, of billion-dollar battles over water rights, and of resulting ecological and economic disaster, including (in an update) the long-term impact of climate change and how the region can prepare for the future.
Water 4.0 - The Past, Present, and Future of the World's Most Vital Resource (2015) by David Sedlak
This enlightening book explains the array of water challenges that can only be solved though a fundamental change in our relationship with water. To make informed decisions about the future, we need to understand the three revolutions in urban water systems that have occurred over the past 2,500 years and the technologies that will remake the system for the future. With notes on water recycling and the "one-water" concept, this book is very relevant to our local water supply challenges.
Water: The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power, and Civilization (2010) by Steven Solomon
A book describing a terrifying-and all too real-world in which access to fresh water has replaced oil as the primary cause of global conflicts that increasingly emanate from drought-ridden, overpopulated areas of the world. This book reveals how today's planetary crisis of freshwater scarcity is recasting the world order and the societies in which we live. It's a narrative account of the earth's most critical resource in shaping human destinies, from ancient times to our dawning age of water scarcity.
When the Rivers Run Dry: Water - The Defining Crisis of the Twenty-first Century (2006) by Fred Pearce
This is an on-the-ground exploration of the impending world water crisis. The author travels to more than thirty countries to examine the current state of crucial water sources. In this book, the complicated scientific, economic, and historic dimensions of the world water crisis are revealed and analyzed, providing a remarkable, complete portrait of this growing danger and its ramifications.
Books accessible to kids:
The Magic School Bus at the Waterworks (1988) by Joanna Cole
In this children's book, suitable for ages 6-9, Ms. Frizzle, an unflappable science teacher, drives the magical school bus into a cloud where the children shrink to the size of water droplets. From there, they follow the trail of water, from its sky-high source to the school bathroom sink, on a wet and wild fieldtrip. A great way to help kids understand the water cycle, water treatment, and water's importance to our everyday lives.
The Snowflake: A Water Cycle Story (2003) by Neil Waldman
In this children's book you follow the journey of a single drop of water throughout the year. The water begins as a snowflake that melts into a droplet, flows into the ground, bubbles up in a spring, flows into a farm's irrigation system, evaporates into the morning fog, becomes part of a cloud, rains down, enters a plumbing system, washes a little girl's face, flows out to the ocean, gets swept onto the shore and evaporates into the sky to become a snowflake once more.
The Hidden Messages in Water (2005) by Masaru Emoto
Using high-speed photography, the author discovered that crystals formed in frozen water reveal changes when specific, concentrated thoughts are directed toward them. He found that water from clear springs and water that has been exposed to loving words shows brilliant, complex, and colorful snowflake patterns. In contrast, polluted water, or water exposed to negative thoughts, forms incomplete, asymmetrical patterns with dull colors.
Toilets of the World (2009) by Morna E Gregory
This amusing but highly informative photographic journey reveals the idiosyncrasy and inventiveness that characterize the construction of the humble toilet around the globe. It features many unusual toilets (and their stories!), from the incredibly complex to the mere hole in the ground. A fun and surprisingly interesting read - adults and kids will enjoy it!
Super Simple Things to Do with Water: Fun and Easy Science for Kids (2011) by Kelly Doudna
A wonderful book for kids ages 7 - 10 that offers a variety of household science experiments focused on water. The book introduces basic physics principles with seven water-based science experiments, all of which can be completed with simple household items. Each activity includes kid-friendly photos and instructions, and simplified scientific explanations.