Drinking Water: A History

Overview


When we turn on the tap or twist open a tall plastic bottle, we might not give a second thought to where our drinking water comes from. But how it gets from the ground to the glass is far more complex than we might think. With concerns over pollution and new technologies like fracking, is it safe to drink tap water? Should we feel guilty buying bottled water? Is the water we drink vulnerable to terrorist attacks? With springs running dry and reservoirs emptying, where is our ...
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Drinking Water: A History

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Overview


When we turn on the tap or twist open a tall plastic bottle, we might not give a second thought to where our drinking water comes from. But how it gets from the ground to the glass is far more complex than we might think. With concerns over pollution and new technologies like fracking, is it safe to drink tap water? Should we feel guilty buying bottled water? Is the water we drink vulnerable to terrorist attacks? With springs running dry and reservoirs emptying, where is our water going to come from in the future?

In Drinking Water, Duke University professor and environmental policy expert James Salzman shows how drinking water highlights the most pressing issues of our time--from globalization and social justice to terrorism and climate change--and how humans have been wrestling with these problems for centuries. Provacative, insightful, and above all fun to read, Drinking Water shows just how complex a simple glass of water can be.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Writing in the popular style of world history seen through the lens of a commodity, Duke professor Salzman details the changing approaches that environmentalists, governments, and the open market have taken to this essential of life. Through exploring core questions in water management—whether people have a right to access drinking water, whether it “should be managed as a commodity for sale or a public good,” what it means for water to be clean and safe—Salzman lucidly addresses controversial topics, such as the Clean Water Act and what it does and doesn’t ensure about the safety of our water supply; risks from arsenic contamination and fracking; the benefits of systemwide versus point of use purification; and whether it helps or hurts communities to sell access to their water sources to private corporations. A special focus on the New York City area brings stories about the slaughterhouse-tainted “Collect,” the Tea Water Pump, and the creation of Chase Manhattan Bank under the pretense of privatized water management in the late 1700s, and the building of the massive Croton Reservoir, which was inaugurated in 1842. Finally, Salzman discusses approaches that may define future water use, such as desalinization, investment in infrastructure, and harvesting water from space. Salzman puts a needed spotlight on an often overlooked but critical social, economic, and political resource. Illus. Agent: Doris Michaels, Doris S. Michaels Literary Agency. (Nov.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781468307115
  • Publisher: Overlook TP
  • Publication date: 10/29/2013
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 296,958
  • Product dimensions: 5.53 (w) x 7.98 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Meet the Author


James Salzman holds the Samuel Mordecai chair at the School of Law and the Nicholas Institute Professor chair at the School of the Environment at Duke University. He has written extensively on the topics of environmental conservation, population growth, and climate change. He lives in Durham, North Carolina.
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Table of Contents

Preface 9

Introduction: Mother McCloud 15

1 The Fountain of Youth 25

2 Who Gets to Drink? 46

3 Is It Safe to Drink the Water? 72

4 Death in Small Doses 113

5 Blue Terror 140

6 Bigger Than Soft Drinks 161

7 Need Versus Greed 192

8 Finding Water for the Twenty-first Century 225

Afterword: A Glass Half Empty/A Glass Half Full 255

Notes 259

Index 311

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