Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Cover story: "The Price of Thirst"

Karen Piper is the author of Cartographic Fictions and Left in the Dust, which the Los Angeles Times has called an “eco-thriller” that every “tap-turning American” should read. A regular contributor to Places magazine, Piper is also a winner of Sierra’s Nature Writing Award and has published in numerous academic journals. She is professor of postcolonial studies in English and adjunct professor in geography at the University of Missouri.

Piper's new book is The Price of Thirst: Global Water Inequality and the Coming Chaos.

Here she explains the connection of the book's cover to the pages within:
The cover photo is a large well in Gujarat, India, a region of the world known for water shortages. You’ll notice how crowded it is, how far down the ropes go, and how it’s surrounded by desert. You’ll also notice that it is mostly women who do the hard work of hauling water, and that this work is getting harder by the day. The reality for many people in the world is that these wells are drying up or becoming too dirty to drink—primarily because of climate change, pollution, and over-extraction of groundwater resources. My book talks about these three things, and also about the global challenges we will all face in finding and distributing water fairly. In India, the groundwater is so over-pumped that millions of people are affected by fluoride poisoning, due to the fact that deep aquifers have more fluoride in them than shallow wells. It’s a very serious problem that causes skeletal deformities, blindness, and a host of other issues.

Ultimately, imagine what would happen to the people in that photograph if that well were dry tomorrow, or if there were only enough water for two of those people. Or imagine that a French or American corporation came in and posted a sign saying, “Sorry, this water now belongs to us. No further access.” What would the people in that photograph do? That is precisely the question of my book.
Learn more about The Price of Thirst at the University of Minnesota Press website.

The Page 99 Test: The Price of Thirst.

--Marshal Zeringue