Book Reviews

Bottled and Sold by Peter Gleick (2010)
In this book, Peter Gleick examines the bottled water industry. Not only is the bottled water industry overpumping groundwater in certain regions and filling landfills with "recyclable" bottles, but some studies have shown that bottled water is not always safer than tap water. This is partly due to discrepancies in regulation (the EPA regulates municipal tap water, while the FDA regulates bottled water). The bottled water industry's advertising campaigns feed public fear of tap water, while underinvestment in municipal water systems is causing a deterioration in infrastructure. Ultimately, Gleick calls for stricter regulation of the bottled water industry as well as increased investment in public water works to ensure high quality tap water.

Climatopolis by Matthew Kahn (2010)
This controversial book claims that global climate change cannot be avoided, but that humans will be forced to adapt. Kahn lays out suggestions for better adaptation. One tenent of his plan is to put higher prices on water. For example, 80% of California's water is used for agriculture. Forty percent of the state's water goes towards cotton, rice, alfalfa, and pasturage. These crops generate a mere 1% of the state's annual income. Gleick argues that climate change will cause Southern California to get hotter but not wetter. Putting a higher price on water will incentivize farmers to farm less water-intensive crops and sell their extra water to urban areas.