Book Review – Aqua Shock

“As long as people turn on that tap and water runs, it’s an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ issue for many.  It’s similar to electricity–as long as it’s on, you pay your bills, and don’t think much about it.  The difference is that water is a necessity of life.  It’s a public health issue around the world.”

Aqua Shock: The Water Crisis in America by Susan J. Marks

This review is courtesy of LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers.

This book got shipped to my mother’s house, and when I pulled it out of the package, she asked “So where does all the water go? It doesn’t fly off into space, so why is there a shortage?” I told her I’d get back to her on that when I’d finished the book.

I must say, Aqua Shock lives up to everything it promises. It’s highly informative, offers information on just about every aspect of the water crisis in America, and is easy to read. If the book fails to state quickly and effectively the answer to my mother’s question, it’s because there is no quick and effective answer (something I did try to convey to my mother when she asked). Water rights and usage in America are as complex and difficult as you’d expect, but Marks does a good job of trying to sort through the mess.

I only have two problems with Aqua Shock. One is that she sometimes reuses examples. Fairly minor, but did get annoying at one point. The other is, in my opinion, the book’s major flaw: it reads like a junior high earth science textbook. There are literally chapter reviews and little asides labeled “Water Tales” and “Water Facts.” They come complete with a little graphic. Some of them are in small boxes I’d expect to see in a sidebar somewhere.

All things considered, this is a good, solid book. If it’s not “ripping” or “engaging” that’s because the topic in and of itself is not considered such. But the book succeeds very well in being an easily accessible primer to the water crisis in America.

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