Booklist review

The Ripple Effect: The Fate of Fresh Water in the Twenty-First Century.
Prud’homme, Alex (Author)
Jun 2011. 448 p. Scribner, hardcover, $27.00. (9781416535454). 333.91.
As development spreads and water resources are stretched to the limit, one essential resource, water, is becoming increasingly commodified and the subject of corporate interest and investment as well as lawsuits when consumers weigh in with their concerns. How did we get to such a place, and what does the future hold for water quality and supply in the U.S. and around the world? Prud’homme examines the everyday products whose use affects the quality and the supply of water, including fertilizers, antibacterial soap, and prescription drugs containing chemicals that later find their ways into water and sewage treatment systems to the detriment of the ecosystem. Prud’homme takes as a starting point the mysterious death in 2005 of a hydrochemist killed while taking water samples in Passaic, New Jersey, a hotbed for controversies over water. Proceeding from it, he offers historical and current perspectives on incidents ranging from the “black mayonnaise” of sludge found in New York neighborhoods to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico BP oil rig blowout. An important book on a fundamental resource.
— Vanessa Bush