Understanding the Complexities of Water Quality Issues.

Water in Crisis, PH Gleick (ed), (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), 473pp.


Understanding environmental problems; understanding core interests; making effective use of technical information; administrative procedures; politics; applicable in water issues; written for the first part participant.


Water in Crisis, is an exhaustive examination of global fresh water issues. It is a collection of readings making the work offered on each topic free-standing.

Water in Crisis is required reading for ARSC 5020/7020 as taught by Professors Michael Glantz and Jim Wescoat. This work is divided into two distinct sections. The first section is a collection of nine essays on fresh water issues. The second section is comprised of a comprehensive set of data on global fresh water. The first section will be of interest to those who desire an overview of global water issues. The editor begins this section with an introduction to global fresh water issues. Each of his concerns is then elaborated upon by another author in one of the subsequent eight essays. The essay on fresh water resources considers: world water stocks, the hydrologic cycle and the water balance, river flow and water supply and the impact of economic activities on water resources. The essay on water quality and human health considers: water quality problems in general, trends affecting water quality and water quality management.

The essay on water and ecosystems focuses upon: ecosystem integrity, biotic diversity, environmental adaptations and both present and future problems for water and ecosystems. The concerns of water and agriculture include irrigation trends, its environmental price, and improvement in irrigation efficiency. The editor examines the relationship between water and energy while other authors examine the relationship between water and economic development. A brief essay on water, politics and international law precedes the concluding essay on predictions for trends in water issues in the 21st century.

The majority of Water in Crisis is devoted to the presentation of data on global fresh water. The data headings roughly align to each of the essays presented in the first section of the book. The essay on water quality and human health is supported by data on both sanitation and water-related disease, and water quality and contamination. Water and: ecosystems, agriculture and energy find corresponding headings in the data section.

Water in Crisis offers an exhaustive examination of fresh water issues. It is especially useful to read a particular essay and be able to turn to the corresponding data heading for quantitative support of the essay author's assertions.