Every year, water shortages affect more than one-third of the world’s population. In 2017, even Rome — ancient pioneer of urban water provision — saw its myriad public drinking fountains switched off. Environmental economist Edward Barbier plunges deep into these and other stories from the fascinating, often fraught world of water management past and present in his scholarly but accessible study The Water Paradox . Barbier investigates, too, the threats looming over water resources. The paradox is this: despite ample scientific evidence on exploitation and overuse of fresh water, and ample wealth, knowledge and institutional power, humanity has created a preventable water crisis. We persist in exploiting fresh water as if it were abundant, even as we recognize its scarcity. By 2040, 2 billion people will be affected by the global groundwater crisis (more water being withdrawn than is refilling aquifers); Indonesia, Iran and South Africa will be among […]