What Others Are Saying About:

Aqua Shock: The Water Crisis in America

By Susan J. Marks

"Across the US and throughout the world, we have rivers so over-allocated that they no longer reach the sea; waterways in our communities so severely degraded that we’d never dream of allowing our children to swim, drink or fish even near them; and management practices around it all that are often entirely devoid of the science we’ve spent generations discovering. Our water is in crisis today even without the exacerbating pressures global climate change is already starting to unveil for tomorrow. 'Water' is truly the challenge of the 21st century--our century--and we have to start having a serious mainstream conversation about the legacy we are leaving our children and grandchildren. In Aqua Shock: Water in Crisis, Susan Marks does a great job of getting that conversation started."
--ALEXANDRA COUSTEAU
Explorer, Filmmaker and Water Advocate - www.AlexandraCousteau.org
“We must shift from business as usual—what we at Earth Policy Institute call Plan A—to a plan of action to save our environment. This new plan includes restoration of aquifers. We can arrest the fall in water tables by increasing water productivity—getting the most use from every drop of water that we do have. That means, as Aqua Shock details, recycling, reuse, conservation, and rethinking how and where we use water today. We can do it, but time is not on our side. We must act now before it’s too late.”
—LESTER R. BROWN
President of Earth Policy Institute and author of Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization
“Aqua Shock confronts an unfortunately little-known fact—the United States is in the midst of a water crisis. Drought and overuse are growing problems, proliferation of chemicals is causing deformities in fish and impacts to human health, and pollution from storm water runoff is damaging our aquatic systems. A talented journalist, Susan Marks highlights these and other challenges, as well as the competing and sometimes conflicting responses. This is not an issue that can be ignored. Americans need to read this book.”
—KRISTINE STRATTON
Executive Director, Waterkeeper Alliance
“Susan J. Marks’ book, Aqua Shock: The Water Crisis in America, brings to our attention the dire straits that America faces in the future because of water shortages and pollution of existing sources. It is time that the American public awoke to these conditions and took steps, however costly, to change them. Aqua Shock will help achieve this desired goal.”
—JOEL A. TARR
Richard S. Caliguiri University Professor of History and Policy, Carnegie Mellon University
“Aqua Shock raises many of the same critical water dynamics that we—the Western States Water Council—have been concerned with and talking about for several years, including population growth, energy demands, water infrastructure needs, Indian water rights claims, compliance with the Endangered Species Act, and climate change. Now is the time for collaboration, for all of us to think about these issues, anticipate potential problems, and work together to implement positive solutions. Collaboration among the various water factions is not easy and it’s expensive, but it’s far better than the alternative of ongoing fighting and court battles.”
—CRAIG BELL
Former Executive Director of the Western States Water Council
“The first step toward making the changes that need to be made to protect our water resources is raising public awareness, and with Aqua Shock, Susan J. Marks has delivered what is needed—a highly readable and tremendously informative account of what she quite rightly calls America’s water crisis. Thankfully, Marks not only spells out in rich detail how and why we as a country find ourselves in the present predicament, but also how we can emerge from it and satisfy our thirst for water in a safe and sane manner. The days of profligate water use are over. They will never return nor should they. With the appropriate steps, we can ensure an adequate supply of clean water for all Americans. Future generations need not be saddled with this crisis. It is within our power to solve this problem, and we must.”
—RONALD F. POLTAK
EPA Lifetime Achievement Award Winner (2006) and Executive Director of the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission
“Water is a renewable but limited resource. In many communities, water resources are being depleted faster than they are replenished. If this rate is not reversed, fresh water can no longer be considered a renewable resource. We use and abuse water in ways that are not sustainable. Once a free gift of nature, water is now a costly commodity. We are throwing away the very elixir of life. In Aqua Shock, author Susan J. Marks gives a clear-headed summary of the diverse locations and predicaments of water shortages in the United States, along with steps we must take to right the balance.”
—DONALD WATSON
Architect and author of Design for Resilience: Preparing Our Communities and Buildings for Flooding, Extreme Weather and Climate Change
“Aqua Shock brings to the forefront a topic which has slowly been building to a crescendo for decades. As the world’s population grew sixfold in the last hundred years, demand for water has outstripped abundant, clean supply. Susan J. Marks reveals, in an easy-to-read journalistic style, the water confrontations that are rapidly emerging and will erupt in the coming decades. Aqua Shock concludes with a series of positive actions that all Americans can take to reverse the fundamentals. The recommendations are given both prescriptively and by showing what other individuals, groups, and communities are doing to rise to the occasion. Kudos to Susan Marks for elevating water to a critical issue on a national level.”
—TOM BINNINGS
Colorado-based water policy and economics adviser and Partner, Summit Economics
“The discussions presented in Aqua Shock are very timely considering the tough water- resources decisions being made across the country. With more than 49 inches of rainfall per year, Arkansas truly is a water-rich state. However, withdrawals from aquifers at a rate that is not sustainable have caused water-level declines of one foot per year or more and the development of large cones of depression in eastern and southern Arkansas.”
—D. TODD FUGITT, R.P.G.
Geology Supervisor, Arkansas Natural Resources Commission
“The hazards of extended drought are not about loss of green lawns and water rationing, but rather social disruption, conflict, and mass migration of people to greener pastures. Our water planning scenarios must include worst-case scenarios. Thanks to Susan Marks and her years of journalism experience in providing this summary of social conflicts over the sharing of water.”
—KENNETH R. WRIGHT
Paleohydrologist and founder of Denver-based Wright Water Engineers
“Susan Marks’ timely new book on the coming water crisis is aptly named. What Future Shock did for change, Aqua Shock does for water. Water is the axis, the yoke of the interdependent troika of energy, food, and high technology that will drive the new economy. We have long underinvested in our water infrastructure. In Aqua Shock, Marks brings her objective viewpoint and cheerful voice to the set of difficult, but not insurmountable, issues that define water today. Marks reminds us that water is indeed gold and that managing water as a first-priority resource is essential to a successful twenty-first-century civilization.”
—ADAM W. GRAVLEY
Seattle-based attorney specializing in water issues, GordonDerr LLP
“Water is not only essential to human life as the single most important input for both advanced and underdeveloped economies, it is also essential to our enduring prosperity. Competing demands for this scarce and mismanaged resource will shape global business and geopolitics in the twenty-first century. Aqua Shock and the message it delivers are key to understanding water’s inescapable influence.”
—JOHN I. DICKERSON
CEO, Summit Global Management
“A provocative book that will make you water-smart and a better citizen…”
-- ROLF DOBELLI, Switzerland
“While water may seem to be a simple substance, the United States and the rest of the world face a dangerous water crisis due to a complex culmination of events. Journalist Susan J. Marks uses a deft writing style that glides from anecdotal reports to studies of the scientific and environmental dimensions of water scarcity, as well as the implications for national security. Unfortunately, in some places, a staccato of bullet-point factoids prevent the story from developing powerful momentum. getAbstract recommends this detailed presentation of water problems and possible solutions to readers who seek a thorough factual introduction to this vital subject.”
--getAbstract
“As a wake-up call, Aqua Shock is an admirable overview of the complex issues, long-standing water wars, and multiple perspectives on water. It also includes resources and notes for further exploration. It provides businesses, citizens, and policy makers who aren’t water experts with an inside look at understanding the roots and scope of the impending water crisis.
-- Bobbye Middendorf
Review from ForeWord Magazine (September/October 2009 issue)
"Without water we perish. Marks starts out by outlining all the ways we humans abuse one of our most precious resources and she details the complex political situations that have lead us down this path. But she also points out some successful solutions and that's why this book is such a great -- an important -- read. The book is an easy read, too. Marks's style is straightforward -- she's not trying to scare, not trying to push a personal political agenda disguised as truth. She tells all sides of the water story fairly."
-- BuzzFlash Review