Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Running Out of Water

Running Out of Water

The Looming Crisis and Solutions to Conserve Our Most Precious Resource


Peter Rogers and Susan Leal, with a foreword by Congressman Edward J. Markey

St. Martin's Press



Water is the world's life source and essential to all living creatures. Although we live on the blue planet, only 3 percent of all our water is drinkable. Yet we've grown accustomed to using it with abandon – individuals consume about 80 to 100 gallons per day adding up to the equivalent of an Olympic sized swimming pool every year. By this decade's end, when the world population is predicted to reach 8 billion, we will face severe shortages.

In this ground breaking and forward-looking book, Harvard professor Peter Rogers and former general manager of the San Francisco Utilities Commission, Susan Leal give us a sobering perspective on the water crisis—why it's happening, where it's likely to strike, and what puts the worst strain on our supply. They explain how water's unique status as a renewable but finite resource misleads us into thinking we can always produce more of it. They introduce exciting new technologies that can help revolutionize our consumption of water and explain how different areas of the world have taken the helm in alleviating the burden of water shortages.

Rogers and Leal show how it takes individuals at all levels to make this happen, from grassroots organizations who monitor their community's water sources, to local officials who plan years in advance how they will appropriate water, to the national government who can invest in infrastructure for water conservation today. Informed and inspiring, Running out of Water is a clarion call for action and an innovative look at how we as a nation and individuals can confront the crisis.


Praise for Running Out of Water

“[Running Out of Water's] excellent thumbnail introduction to the economics of water makes clear why the market cannot adequately allocate water resources…Presenting a wide range of both private and government-initiated efforts to manage water resources, [Rogers and Leal] offer a kind of how-to manual based on best practices…The great strength of Rogers and Leal's book is its inclusion of cases that are about the unmentionable side of water: sewage.” —Foreign Affairs

“A well-written, interesting read...highly recommended.” —Choice

“Very straightforward…A few hours with this book, and you'll be able to dominate any party conversation about water. And, even more, you'll want to read -- and think -- more about this most precious of all liquids.” —Jesse Kornbluth, The Huffington Post

“Peter Rogers and Susan Leal get to grips with how we can keep the taps flowing, showcasing such solutions as "toilet-to-tap" sewage recycling in Singapore, water trading in Australia and smarter irrigation systems in the US…bravely make the case for well-regulated water privatisation…They have got the bottom line right, though: the water crisis is of our own making. There is enough of the stuff to go around.” —Fred Pearce, for New Scientist's Culture Lab

“This wonderful book you now hold in your hands…will introduce you to leaders around the world who are finding creative solutions for conserving and protecting our water supply…A call to action as well as a celebration of the progress already under way. Running Out of Water offers hope and guidance for getting that crucial job done.” —from the foreword by Congressman Edward J. Markey

“An admirably clear exposition of the lamentable state of the planet's water. But this book is more than just lamentations and excoriations. I particularly liked Rogers and Leal's selection of eminently sensible, easily replicable, scalable solutions, and their sense that yes, the water world can be fixed.” —Marq de Villiers, author of Water: The Fate of Our Most Precious Resource, winner of Canada's Governor General's Award for non fiction

“The urgent need for a sweeping change in attitude toward the waters of our earth cannot be overstated. In Running Out of Water, Peter Rogers and Susan Leal clearly enumerate the many ways we can and must improve the use of our embattled water resources.” —Captain Charles Moore, Algalita Marine Research Foundation

“This simple and readable book explains why there are widespread fears that the world is running out of water, and what can be done to ensure it does not. Co-authored by Peter Rogers, one of the world's foremost global water experts, and Susan Leal, who has deep experience in managing water at a local level in the United States, the book brings an unusual but much needed blend of global and local perspectives. Explaining complex issues in simple terms and with a lively prose, the book presents both big picture solutions and specific local examples. Importantly, the authors have avoided the temptation to cover the entire waterfront, as it were--instead, they have chosen to dwell on a few key topics that get to the heart of the politics, science, economics and technology of this fascinating subject.” —Roberto Lenton, former Chair of the Technical Committee of the Global Water Partnership

“Rooted in real examples of water crises, Rogers and Leal point to clear, and well-tested, ways to solve these crises.” —John Briscoe, senior water adviser to the World Bank

Running Out of Wateris both a wake-up call and a call to action. Rogers and Leal document the scope of the water crisis facing the world, and then provide readable and engaging success stories of people who are stepping up to face this crisis.” —Joe Simitian, Chairman, Environmental Quality Committee, California State Senate

“A must read for the general public to understand the global water crisis and, more importantly, to grasp that there are reasonable, and well-tested solutions.” —Fiona Ma, Assemblywoman, California State Legislature

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Peter Rogers and Susan Leal, with a foreword by Congressman Edward J. Markey

Peter Rogers is a leading water expert and professor of environmental engineering at Harvard and a senior advisor to the Global Water Partnership. He has written for many scientific journals including Scientific American on this subject, and has received a Guggenheim, and a Twentieth Century Fellowship.

Susan Leal is a senior fellow of the Advanced Leadership Initiative at Harvard University and an associate of Harvard's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. She is also an environmental and management consultant, and the former head of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, a large regional water and power utility. While at the utility, she established the nation's first coalition of large water utilities to address the challenges of climate change.

Peter Rogers

Peter Rogers

Susan Leal

From the Publisher

St. Martin's Press

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