5 Books to Read to Learn More About the World Water Crisis

5 Books to Read for Learning About the Global Water Crisis

By Hannah Ahern

While some geographical locations may not feel direct impacts just yet, the global water crisis will eventually be felt in every area of the world. The 2023 UN World Water Development Report states that 2-3 billion people experience water shortages at present. Furthermore,this number is expected to increase exponentially in the next few decades. Some contributing factors of this increase include unprecedented weather patterns and population growth, changing consumption patterns, and agricultural runoff.

This water crisis is not a new phenomenon. For decades, scientists, researchers and authors have shared the consequences humans have on water supply and suggestions for more sustainable practices. However, as this issue grows on the global-scale, more authors are releasing books to inform modern audiences of the current events related to this modern water insecurity crisis. 

Learning how complicated factors such as climate change, war, the economy, politics, and basic-individual usage of water affect present and future water supply, individuals can gain awareness of how this global phenomenon will impact future events in the world. Ultimately, these books shine a light on both global and individual perspectives regarding the world water crisis. Below is a list of just 5 books that can help an individual enter into this global water supply discussion.

The Big Thirst by Charles Fishman

By relating the ways humans use water in their daily lives to what is at stake on a global level, Charles Fishman urges the reader to reconsider their own relationship with water in this impressive book. The book’s aim is to instill a level of water consciousness in the audience. In his exploration of the efforts to expand sustainable water technology processes, Fishman manages to present the very real-concerns and troubles surrounding this looming water crisis in a meaningful way. Although published over a decade ago, The Big Thirst represents an impressive exploration into how humans can use water and appreciate everything it means for humanity.

The Big Thirst

When the Rivers Run Dry by Fred Pearce

Exploring the critical issue of water scarcity and its profound impact on agriculture, human consumption, and global stability, Pearce creates a clear image of the escalating global water crisis. Combining scientific, economic, and historical elements, he identifies wasteful practices, misguided engineering projects, and the overuse of high-yield crop varieties that once saved nations from famine but are now depleting water resources. Additionally, advocating for the adoption of more efficient practices and new water ethics that prioritize collective welfare over individual interests, Peace maps out a sustainable and equitable water future for all. Overall, this book is great for individuals who want to learn about the complexities of the water crisis and how it manifests on a global scale. 

When Rivers Run Dry: Water- The Defining Crisis

The Water Princess by Georgie Badiel, Susan Verde, and Peter H. Reynolds

Inspired by the real childhood experiences of Georgie Badiel, an advocate for increasing clean water resources in African countries, this picture book shares the story of Princess Gie Gie who lives in a small African village. Despite her young age, this young protagonist’s depth shines as she playfully interacts with nature and all living things. However, her biggest challenge lies in obtaining clean water, a precious resource that remains distant from her home. Despite experiencing physical hardships in obtaining water, Gie Gie dreams of a future where her kingdom will have access to flowing, crystal-clear water. This project sheds light on the ongoing struggle for access to clean water worldwide and the very real struggles women and children face in water collection processes. Despite this book’s status as a grad-school level novel, the story sheds light for readers of all ages as they enter into this global water crisis conversation through the eyes of an inspirational young girl.

The Water Princess
Girls Collecting Water

The Water Paradox: Overcoming the Global Crisis in Water Management by Ed Barbier

In this book is a comprehensive discussion of global water politics and processes as they relate to water mismanagement. There is also an essential mention of water shortages that threaten the future of both rich and poor nations. Expanding on how this crisis is not only due to scarcity but also mismanagement, Barbier manages to guide the reader through the current climate surrounding this global crisis.  Important mentions of “water grabbing” disputes only serve to highlight the difficulties that lie ahead in establishing cooperation on a global level. In his proposition of policy and management solutions to avoid the impending crisis, he gives us a sense that this urgent crisis can be abated if the global world answers this call to action. Ultimately this book can give audiences a greater awareness of how crucial water consciousness is in the modern age and what people today are advocating for in these movements. 

The Water Crisis Paradox

Superman’s Not Coming: Our National Water Crisis and What We the People Can Do About It by Erin Brockavich

Written in 2020 by the prolific American paralegal, consumer advocate, and environmental activist Erin Brockavich, this book delves into the various issues surrounding America’s water crisis. Despite discussing hefty topics like climate change’s impact on the national water shortage and water contamination, Brockavich manages to frame these issues as mitigable through certain action steps. By highlighting critical issues related to water safety and exposing deceptive scientific practices and unreported cancer clusters, she emphasizes the importance of collective action, sharing tools for advocating for clean water, and ensuring better enforcement of laws and regulations. Overall, the book aims to empower readers to take action, have their voices heard, and contribute to the safeguarding of safe and clean water for all.

Our National Water Crisis

How Reading Helps

Depending on location, the global water crisis can feel either far off or at our front door. However, reading books can help build an international understanding of the situation so that collaborative efforts can be made to combat this global water insecurity. Additionally, by engaging with books like these, individuals can take knowledge from the past and present to build a better, more sustainable future in their own personal water usage. The global water crisis is both an individual and global responsibility, and change can only occur when we rewire our relationship with water itself. 

Purchase List

  1. The Big Thirst 
  2. When the Rivers Run Dry 
  3. The Water Princess
  4. The Water Paradox: Overcoming the Global Crisis in Water Management
  5. Superman’s Not Coming: Our National Water Crisis and What We the People Can Do About It

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