The little-known story of the systems that bring us our drinking water, how they were developed, the problems they are facing, and how they will be reinvented in the near future
Most of us give little thought to the hidden systems that bring us water and take it away when we’re done with it. But these underappreciated marvels of engineering face an array of challenges that cannot be solved without a fundamental change to our relationship with water, David Sedlak explains in this enlightening book. To make informed decisions about the future, we need to understand the three revolutions in urban water systems that have occurred over the past 2,500 years and the technologies that will remake the system. The author starts by describing the early Roman aqueducts, fountains, and sewers that made dense urban living feasible. He then details the development of drinking water and sewage treatment systems - the second and third revolutions in urban water. He offers an insider’s look at current systems that rely on reservoirs, underground pipe networks, treatment plants, and storm sewers to provide water that is safe to drink, before addressing how these water systems will have to be reinvented. For everyone who cares about reliable, clean, abundant water, this book is essential.
"Sedlak...has contributed a gem to the growing shelf of books on the emerging crisis surrounding water.... An erudite romp through two millennia of water and sanitation practice and technology." (Nature)
"The book is filled with intriguing historical detail...[and] stimulates political reflection as well." (Los Angeles Review of Books)
"An intriguing history of human water use. Packed with riveting stories and examples." (Mathis Wackernagel, Global Footprint Network)