Water in Plain Sight

By: Judith D. Schwartz

Water in Plain Sight: Hope for a Thirsty World looks at the global crises from the perspective of land health and emphasizes water as a process as opposed to water as a “thing.” Through narrative, Judith Schwartz explores several concepts that tend not to come up in public/policy discussions of water: infiltration, transpiration, condensation and surface evaporation. This shifts the discussion from what we can’t do (make it rain or make it stop raining) to things we can do (such as cover and restore soil.) Schwartz also tackles forest-water dynamics, with a focus on the situation in Brazil. A global and relevant book, Schwartz draws upon in-depth reporting from the US, Zimbabwe, Mexico, and Australia to frame her stories including: the return of water at the Dimbangombe Ranch in Zimbabwe; water infrastructure (told as a story in four flows—big water works, nature’s engineers, the ground surface, the soil aggregate); biodiversity and water in Chihuahua (creating wildlife habitat and how biodiversity slows down the water cycle); Zimbabwe villagers becoming food self-sufficient thanks to a restored water cycle; farming for water (a great example found in Irvine, California); a rancher who relies on “nutrient-dense dew”; and fending off fire in Australia. Water in Plain Sight was published by St. Martin’s Press in 2016.

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