Reflections understanding our use and abuse of water


This book calls for us to develop an informed ethos of respect for water, and for ourselves. It counts on readers to reflect on the intimate relationship we have developed with water, because the stakes are high. Water has qualities which make it nourishing, cleansing, and unifying. But we pump aquifers dry, contaminate lakes, and fight over rivers, and far too often in far too many places use and abuse water at will. Cases from all over the world and especially from western Asia detail how the lure of profit defeats scientific counsel to use water sustainably, how chauvinist ideologies lead (with monotonous predictability) to inequality, and how the violent logic of war both victimises and weaponises water. What we do with water whilst it is in our hands mirrors our behaviour to each other, the book argues, and that reversing the desecration begins with understanding water in a new way.