Publishers Weekly starred review

Prud’homme, a journalist and the coauthor with Julia Child of My Life in France, examines crucial issues concerning the world’s finite supply of fresh water– pollution, water quantity (drought and flood), waste, and governance. Focusing on the U.S., he explores how water scarcity, population growth, and environmental degradation are forcing the country to a moment of reckoning on a scale not seen since the passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972. And he notes how woefully obsolete laws designed to protect drinking supplies in the 1970s are becoming, when hundreds of untested new chemicals enter U.S. waterways every year, and the majority of water pollution now comes from unregulated storm-water runoff, where insecticides, fertilizers, paint, and motor oil are washed into the water supply.
Prud’homme offers ample and eloquent warnings of a looming water crisis: intersex fish in Chesapeake Bay, the poisoning of water wells in Wisconsin from agricultural runoff, Lake Mead’s record-low waterline in Nevada, decaying dams and levees. Prud’homme’s eloquence and local focus will help this book rise to the top of the recent flood of water-themed books including Elixir by Brian Fagan and The Big Thirst by Charles Fishman. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/25/2011
The Ripple Effect: The Fate of Fresh Water in the Twenty-First Century
Alex Prud’homme. Scribner, $27 (448p) ISBN 978-1-4165-3545-4