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Water & Energy: Can They Mix?

America’s leaders in government and business have rightly focused their attention on solving our energy and climate challenge. But another great environmental challenge is looming on the horizon: water.

Just like energy, water is fundamental to all that we do, and the water we depend on every day for a cold drink, to bathe, to grow our food, operate our factories, and even flush our toilets is running out.

Robert Glennon’s new book, Unquenchable: America’s Water Crisis and What to Do About It, covers the story of water in modern America. And Glennon connects the dots between energy, development, waste, and water.

Right now Washington is having a love affair with the clean energy of ethanol and biofuels. But love will turn to heartbreak once America realizes that thousands of gallons of water are required to produce one gallon of fuel. Glennon tells how a celebrated, new ethanol plant in Minnesota–The Land of 10,000 Lakes!–is already sucking local wells dry.

From the Vegas Strip to faux snow in Atlanta, from our supersized bathrooms to mega-farms, from billion-dollar water deals to big time politics and personalities, Glennon explains the causes of our water woes.

Glennon argues that we cannot engineer our way out of our water problem with the usual fixes or the zany–but very real–schemes to tow icebergs from Alaska or divert the Mississippi River to Nevada. America must make hard choices–and Glennon’s answer is a provocative market-based system that values water as a commodity and a fundamental human right.

“Island Press is proud to take part in bringing Robert Glennon’s thought-provoking expose on our water crisis to light,” said Charles Savitt, president and publisher of Island Press. “Unquenchable will illustrate the urgency of this problem and the need for action on multiple fronts to solve it.”

Robert Glennon is the Morris K. Udall Professor of Law and Public Policy in the Rogers College of Law at the University of Arizona. He is the author of many articles and books, including the acclaimed Water Follies: Groundwater Pumping and the Fate of America’s Fresh Waters. He also advises governments and advocates on water.

Founded in 1984, Island Press works to stimulate, shape, and communicate the information that is essential for solving environmental problems. Today, with more than 800 titles and some 40 new releases each year, it is the nation’s leading publisher of books on environmental issues. But Island Press does more than publish books. It advances environmental science by nurturing the exchange of ideas across disciplines and sectors, and by helping to create a multidisciplinary literature on environmental problems and solutions. The knowledge created is spread far beyond the range of a limited marketplace through sophisticated communications initiatives that reach journalists, academics, policymakers, practitioners and the general public. Through these efforts, Island Press is driving change by moving ideas from the printed page to public discourse and practice. Island Press’s emphasis is, and will continue to be, on transforming objective information into understanding and action. For more information and further updates, check out Island Press’ blogs and podcasts at www.islandpress.org.

Read The Climate Casino: Risk, Uncertainty, and Economics for a Warming World from Amazon.

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