Water arid lands of the Western United States

Water arid lands of the Western United States

290 Water Arid Lands of the Western United States, edited by E1-Ashry and D.C. Gibbons, Cambridge University Press, 1989, 415 pp. Price: £40.00, U.S...

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Water Arid Lands of the Western United States, edited by E1-Ashry and D.C. Gibbons, Cambridge University Press, 1989, 415 pp. Price: £40.00, U.S.$ 59.50. Despite the fact t h a t the daily renewable supply of water in the U.S.A. is about 1400 billion gallons, which is 14 times that consumed per day, its geographical distribution is not homogenous. Today, water is a valuable but diminishing commodity; local demand as a consequence of industrial, agricultural and urban development, coupled with often inefficient and uneconomic past practices, indicate t h a t there is considerable concern over the availability of future supplies. Indeed, apart from current practices, the arid lands of the U.S.A. are susceptible to long-term changes in climate which have to be considered and over which man has no control. Therefore, today there is an urgent need to conserve water and increase the efficiency of its use. This multi-author book provides a comprehensive evaluation of the landwater resource and its management in parts of Texas, Colorado, California and Arizona. Each chapter sets the historical scene for water use then considers the nature of the water resource in relation to supply and demand; finally, various alternatives are discussed in relation to the supply demand of usable water and its management. Throughout the arid regions of the U.S. the last resources are being tapped (e.g. groundwater); failure to conserve them in relation to the predicted demands presents obvious problems for the future development of the arid regions. Large and sophisticated technologies can be brought to bear upon the problem, but most are uneconomic. Social and political issues are discussed concerning the effect of the demands for water in one area or region in relation to others; with a finite resource, gains in one sector are marked by losses in another. New policies are required as the demand for water increases in the coming decades, but the fact remains that the regions are naturally arid and perhaps will have to remain so if an abundance of water, or an alternative technology, is not developed in order to reduce the demand for water. Although this book is concerned with arid lands, many of the environmental, social and political issues are applicable to more temperate climates where the demand for water outstrips the resources available.

Tavistock (United Kingdom)

E.I. Hamilton

Environmental Toxicology: Organic Pollutants, by J.K. Fawell and S. Hunt, Ellis Horwood Ltd, Chichester, 1988, 440 pp. This book provides a useful survey of the literature on the toxicology of a wide selection of organic compounds found as pollutants in the environment, in particular those likely to be present in potable water. Although this book reflects the interests of the U.K. Water Research Centre, it is almost devoid of any in-depth discussion of organic contaminants in relation to water quality; the emphasis is upon data obtained from animal toxicology in relation to