Saturday, December 07, 2013

Last Call at the Oasis: The Global Water Crisis and Where We Go from Here edited by Karl Weber

Last Call at the Oasis is the companion to the movie of the same name. I haven't seen it yet, but I just put it in my Netflix queue. I get the feeling that some of the chapters in this book aren't a big part of the movie, i.e. somebody gives a couple of soundbites in the movie and gets to write a 12-page chapter in the book. I mean, much of the book seems tangential to what I would expect from the film (maybe I'll be proven wrong when I see it).

The book has its moments. One concept presented in this book that is not often acknowledged is the relationship between water and energy, particularly in the American West. Obviously there is hydroelectric power, and a lot of water is used to cool other power plants. But also one must consider how much energy is used to move water around. A popular saying is, "Water flows uphill toward money," and pumping that water uphill takes energy.

Overall, Last Call at the Oasis just didn't work for me. I had such a hard time getting into it that I began to wonder whether I had finally lost interest in the topic of water (which would be bad considering I have two dozen unread books on the subject). I haven't, but it took another book later in November to convince me.

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