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Back to the Well: Rethinking the Future of Water Hardcover – Sep 22 2015

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 378 pages
  • Publisher: Goose Lane Editions (Sept. 22 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 086492075X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0864920751
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 3 x 23.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 717 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #52,588 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


"Having laid out a discouraging list of the world's water-related problems, de Villiers does not fail to put forward some solutions. In fact, since there are so many different water-related crises, each with its own challenges, he offers a large toolbox of solutions." (Winnipeg Free Press 2015-10-21)

"This book will ruffle some feathers as well as open some minds, but for anyone who cares about the earth's most precious resource, it is worth the read." (Publishers Weekly 2015-11-20)

"Marq de Villiers won a Governor General's Literary Award for his 1999 book, Water: The Fate of Our Most Precious Resource, a look at the political, environmental, and cultural uses and misuses of the planet's most essential natural commodity. A decade and a half on, with climate change a pressing issue, de Villiers returns with a companion volume that examines, among other things, the legal ramifications of globalization on the subject of who "owns" the world's increasingly precious and imperilled supply of drinkable water." (Quill & Quire 2015-09-22)

"Marq de Villiers' book, Back to the Well, argues that, in order to approach solutions to the problems water is facing we need, first of all, to re-frame the debate from considering water as a single global crisis to thinking of the issue as a series of local regional and river basin problems. Instead of thinking globally and acting locally, we need to think AND act locally. The makes water problems easier to solve, not harder." (Community Sustainability Network 2015-09-22)

From the Inside Flap

Droughts. Flooding. Climate change. Fracking. Agricultural runoff. Industrial waste. Oil spills.

The perils to the global fresh-water supply have never been so clear or so numerous. Visible and pressing problems have brought this critical issue to the forefront of public consciousness, but the current politicial discourse around water seems to offer few solutions. In dozens of countries, ordinary citizens have cause to worry about what (or how much) will come out of their taps — if they even have taps — and who will make sure it is available, affordable, and safe.

Fifteen years after the publication of Water, an influential book on the state of the global water supply, Marq de Villiers returns with this refreshing examination of the fate and future of the world's most precious and contested resource, fearlessly taking on some of the biggest questions and shibboleths of the century. Who owns water? Is access to water a human right? Who is responsible for keeping water clean and ensuring that it gets to the people who need it most? Is privatization of water an evil or an extension of the public trust?

Examining how political ideologies often obscure the underlying issues, de Villiers makes the controversial suggestion that there is no global-scale water crisis. Instead, he concludes that there are thousands of smaller local and regional crises that can most effectively be addressed through local actions rather than prescriptive global solutions.

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