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In the last century, we moved water to people; in this century, people will move to water. At least that's the assertion Charles Fishman makes in his captivating and provocative book, The Big Thirst, The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water. And why not? Residents in East Porterville, California, had been without water for more than five months by October 2014: their wells had run dry. Reservoirs supplying Sao Paolo, Brazil's largest city, are dangerously low and the 20 million residents are facing "hydraulic collapse." Water crises ranked first among the top 10 risks in terms of impact in the 2015 World Economic Forum list of Global Risks.
A sobering new report — "Water for a Sustainable World" — just issued by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), concludes that our planet is facing a 40 percent shortfall in water supply by 2030, unless we dramatically improve the management of this precious resource.