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February 05, 2008

Dam Nation: Dispatches From the Water Underground

Ever since learning about water mapping from Georg Bertsch and about watershed-based planning in Toronto from Chris Hardwick at Doors 9 on Juice last year, I've been aware that we talked a lot about energy but not enough about water. This prompted me in a fit of guilt to buy a bunch of books about greywater harvesting; these now sit in a dispiriting and unread pile next to my bath. Then, bingo: I found this wonderful book called Dam Nation: Dispatches From the Water Underground which I commend to you all. Its essays, drawings, and photographs span a wondrous range of topics: off-grid water concepts; the politics of dams and water infrastructure; watersheds as a way of understanding and living in the world. The essays explain the often destructive relationship between human settlements and nature, but these gloomy reflections are more than counter-balanced by stories about successful resistance to dams - including advanced plans to dismantle some of them - and practical ideas on how to restore wastersheds. Damn Nation's editors are a reassuringly edgy and non-wet group of activists, tattooists and 'dishwasher deviants'. They've done a great job: the collection is extremely well-written. Buy two copies now: one for you, and one for an architect or urban planner who also needs to read it.

Posted by John Thackara at February 5, 2008 08:11 AM


A book our community wastewater task force has found really helpful is Reusing the Resource. The subtitle is Adventures in Ecological Wastewater Recycling.
We really needed examples to give to our consulting engineers. This is in their language but we could understand it too. It has overviews of types of systems followed by a chapter full of many examples, with color photos, of systems, from wetlands to wastewater recycling machines, to graywater systems, to Swedish methane systems that power whole public transport systems.
It's cool.

Posted by: Laura Greene at February 24, 2008 07:07 PM

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