The Water Paradox: Overcoming the Global Crisis in Water Management

The Water Paradox: Overcoming the Global Crisis in Water Management

by Ed Barbier


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A radical new approach to tackling the growing threat of water scarcity

Water is essential to life, yet humankind’s relationship with water is complex. For millennia, we have perceived it as abundant and easily accessible. But water shortages are fast becoming a persistent reality for all nations, rich and poor. With demand outstripping supply, a global water crisis is imminent.
In this trenchant critique of current water policies and practices, Edward Barbier argues that our water crisis is as much a failure of water management as it is a result of scarcity. Outdated governance structures and institutions, combined with continual underpricing, have perpetuated the overuse and undervaluation of water and disincentivized much-needed technological innovation. As a result “water grabbing” is on the rise, and cooperation to resolve these disputes is increasingly fraught. Barbier draws on evidence from countries across the globe to show the scale of the problem, and outlines the policy and management solutions needed to avert this crisis.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780300224436
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication date: 02/26/2019
Pages: 296
Sales rank: 768,773
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Edward B. Barbier is professor of economics and senior scholar in the School of Global Environmental Sustainability at Colorado State University. He is an internationally recognized expert on environmental policy, and has served as a consultant and advisor to numerous international organizations.

Table of Contents

List of Figures, Tables and Boxes vi

Preface ix

Acknowledgments xii

Introduction: The Water Paradox 1

1 Water as an Economic Good 19

2 Humankind and Water 36

3 Water in the Modern Era: Toward a Global Crisis? 65

4 A Global Crisis in Water Management 89

5 Reforming Governance and Institutions 110

6 Ending the Underpricing of Water 134

7 Supporting Innovations 187

8 Managing a Global Resource 212

9 The Future of Water 227

Notes 233

Select Bibliography 264

Index 271

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