Our Book of the Month Choice for July

The SSL ‘Book of the Month’ feature highlights a book in our collection that has been chosen by one of our Subject Consultants. This may be a recent addition to our stock or an existing item that we would like to share with you.


The water paradox: overcoming the global crisis in water management

by Edward B. Barbier

Yale University Press, 2019

eBook available here





The Book of the Month for July has been selected by Andy Kernot, Subject Consultant for Geography, Social Policy, Internet Studies and Public Policy. 



Why was it chosen?

It was chosen because it highlights how much something that we take for granted, water, is under threat by human mismanagement and what we can do to resolve this.

Book Overview

Water is essential to life, yet humankind’s relationship with water is complex. For millennia, we have perceived it as abundant and easily accessible. But water shortages are fast becoming a persistent reality for all nations, rich and poor. With demand outstripping supply, a global water crisis is imminent. In this trenchant critique of current water policies and practices, Edward Barbier argues that our water crisis is as much a failure of water management as it is a result of scarcity. Outdated governance structures and institutions, combined with continual underpricing, have perpetuated the overuse and undervaluation of water and disincentivized much-needed technological innovation. As a result “water grabbing” is on the rise, and cooperation to resolve these disputes is increasingly fraught. Barbier draws on evidence from countries across the globe to show the scale of the problem, and outlines the policy and management solutions needed to avert this crisis.


‘’Edward Barbier does a fabulous job educating the reader on the state of water in the world and on ways to address associated water-issues. While the book is written for a non-technical audience, it is essential reading for water professionals and policy makers.’’

Ariel Dinar, Distinguished Professor of Environmental Economics and Policy at the University of California, Riverside.

Barbier is the go-to person on water and water scarcity. This is a comprehensive guide for anyone who cares about one of the most important issues in this century.”

Dieter Helm, Professor of Economic Policy at the University of Oxford and author of Natural Capital: Valuing the Planet

“Clear and compelling… recommended reading for all interested in the pressing issue of water scarcity.”

Professor Anil Markandya, Former Scientific Director at the Basque Centre for Climate Change.

How can I access it?

An eBook of this title is available via SOLO. Oxford University staff and students can access it remotely by logging into SOLO with their SSO.

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