Book Reviews


Water Resources Planning and Management , R.Q. Grafton and K. Hussey . Cambridge University Press , 32 Avenue of the Americas, New York, New York 10013 . 2011 . 777 pages. $90 . ISBN 978-0-521-76258-8 .

On the very first page of the book the authors state, “Water is an increasing critical issue at the forefront of global policy change, management and planning.” The text is loaded with information on this major topic of water resources with respect to planning and management. This book will be a great resource for students interested in pursuing this as a career, as well as a good resource for any professional already involved in some form of water resource management.

As a civil engineer involved in a variety of infrastructure projects, it was interesting to see the bigger picture of the international scene on this topic. The book has chapters on issues from the United States to South Africa, as well as Australia. It also discusses how the international agencies, such as the United Nations, are also involved in this matter. The book also shows how so much of our everyday lives are tied into water resources. Everything from our use of fuel to run our cars and heat our homes to the food that we eat is all dependent on water, and how one is managed affects the others. This book clearly states how all of these topics are connected and that, if we do not begin to address them, our quality of life will be diminished because of the broad impacts that we are having on our water resources.

The book is broken up into three main sections. Part I titled “Understanding Water” covers several topics that are related to understanding the management and planning needed to provide and maintain clean fresh water. It consists of seven chapters that build on the fundamentals of what is needed to understand water management. Examples of the topics are issues of climate change, global hydrology, and the connection of groundwater and surface water. The authors’ work effectively emphasizes how none of these issues are localized, but instead all interconnected to our everyday lives worldwide. Part II, “Water Resources Planning and Management,” goes into more detail with respect to planning and management of water resources, with a major effort on how international and local laws play into this. Part III, “Case Studies,” which is the largest segment of the book, includes numerous case studies from around the world that deal with a multitude of topics including water and wastewater treatment, agricultural use, urban management, as well as managing water across borders. The case studies really support the ideas set forth in Parts I and II of the book. All of the chapters in this book are presented in a format that is well suited for the classroom environment in that they start with a well defined introduction and then move into the core material. All end with a concise conclusion. This format will also be helpful for the everyday practioner who might just want to skim certain subject matters. All of the chapters include an extensive list of references for additional reading.

One issue with the book, which should not detract from the overall content, is that many of the maps use gray and black shading that makes it too hard to determine the different areas of interest. For the next edition, possible use of color or full page maps would be an improvement. Also, some chapters read better than others due to the fact that each chapter is written by a different author.

As a resource for a civil engineer, I do not view this as a book that I would reference very often. However, as a policy maker or a planner, I think this book would be a very useful resource. That said, individuals who work with water should be aware of these topics for it will help make better decisions for the overall benefit of humanity.

The book demonstrates that water management issues are very complex, yet important. It captures the reality that we are in a serious crisis with respect to water quality and quantity for a large segment of the world’s population. The idea of trying to get multiple disciplines to work together is a lofty goal and one that we need to pursue in order to address these issues. The beginning part of the book paints a negative picture; however, the case studies show that we can move in the right direction to address many of these issues that society faces today. This book is primarily written for policy makers in that there is a strong emphasis on law and policy with respect to water management. It can still serve as a useful resource to other professionals and interest groups.

Michael C. Hansen
11 Briarwood Drive
Bow, New Hampshire 03304

Troubled Waters: Ocean Science and Governance , G. Holland and D. Pugh ( Editors ). Cambridge University Press , 32 Avenue of the Americas, New York, New York 10013 . 2011 . 316 pages. $50. ISBN 978-0-521-76581-7 .

This 316-page book provides valuable knowledge to anyone in the ocean field, as its main message is a need for a coordinated approach to ocean management. Current and prospective scientists, managers, and policy makers must work together and look toward the future in establishing successful ocean policies. The book provides a sample of many ocean issues providing a selective record of the past, state of the present, and examples of problems to be addressed in the future. The various authors provide different perspectives and encompassing accounts of ocean issues, illustrating the need for more knowledge and a universal collection method. The writing styles are diverse and every section is well written. The mosaic of the authors’ individual experience provide for a unique educational compilation on the current state of the ocean.

The book is divided into seven parts, each comprised of a few chapters that are related, though sometimes loosely, to each other. An introductory paragraph at the beginning of each section describes this relation. Almost every chapter includes key issues of a given topic, lessons learned, and future implications. The book covers a diverse array of topics but topics constantly overlap, which seems analogous with the body of oceanographic knowledge. The diversity of the involved bodies and organizations make a coordinated approach to ocean management difficult, both in the book and in general.

The book opens up with a brief introduction, which composes all of Part I, an odd organizational mechanism. The book really begins with Part II, which discusses the history of global ocean management. While this section is dry at times, it describes the need for coordination among national governing bodies, as well as a clear forum for discussion. The adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) is discussed along with the founding of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC). Chapter 4 is my personal favorite chapter of the book and includes “principles of engagement” outlining typical mistakes made by scientists and solutions to avoid them. The chapter ends with three success stories of institutional growth, reinforcing the idea that global science must start locally.

More chapters on the evolution of the IOC follow, offering some unique personal accounts before transitioning to Part III, ocean science. Research topics including climate programs, bathymetric charting, and harmful algae blooms are a few of many potential topics explored in the book. This section illustrates the need for safe, economical, and sustainable research. A chapter on non-governmental organizations (that support the research community) follows, and compares them with intergovernmental organizations that possess the power to implement policy. It is crucial for these two entities to work together if society is to benefit from the best scientific information.

A section on data and observations is presented in Part IV, which demonstrates the importance of open data exchange. Reliable decisions can only be achieved with dependable and accessible data, and technology is well ahead of the current management structures in place. This chapter introduces the IODE, which facilitates exchange of data, and attempts to create standards and formats, a necessary development in the future.

Part V describes some ocean applications, touching on topics most important to general society. A chapter on coastal management explains the need for a sustainable balance between conservation and use. A chapter on hazards and warnings and the ability to predict and warn for extreme events follows. This is perhaps ocean science’s greatest contribution to general society, but there must be a local buy-in to the global system for successful implementation. Changing to a slightly more optimistic tone, the next two chapters provide insight on different regional management programs in the Caribbean and Africa. It describes milestones that led to successful regional cooperation in the Caribbean and introduces a system in its early stages in Africa that can benefit from the lessons learned in the preceding chapter.

Part VI provides a sample of the many intergovernmental agencies concerned with the ocean; those within the UN system, IGOs and NGOs including: the Food and Agriculture Organization, International Hydrographic Organization, International Maritime Organization, United Nations Environment Program, and the World Meteorological Organization.

Finally, Part VII discusses the future. It effectively summarizes the main themes and looks ahead while providing much criticism of the IOC. The slow pace of scientific progress isn’t because of lack of research; it is because of social and political friction. This section discusses why the current governance structure will not be effective in the future, and how regional coordination and a common scientific approach are essential for global success. The future must recognize the progress of science.

The number of key players that relate to ocean management is immense, and without some background knowledge these organizations can be confusing for the reader. A list of acronyms is provided in the beginning, but a glossary would have been more helpful. The book also includes some incredible pictures, but it would have been more beneficial to have pictures that were related to the text instead of just scattered throughout.

The book as a whole presents many problems and few solutions, leaving the reader with a slightly pessimistic, yet realistic feeling of the state of the art. For future scientists, managers, and policy makers, these issues will all need to be addressed in the future. By providing researchers with knowledge of the existing problems and obstacles, the likelihood of success is increased. For those who are currently in the field, the text provides a good reality check of what issues exist and what responsible parties should do to address them. The different perspectives are incredibly helpful, and this book effectively provides a sample of the many issues related to the ocean.

Kathleen E. Galloway
876 Sapphire St.
San Diego, California 92109

Peatland Biogeochemistry and Watershed Hydrology at the Marcell Experimental Forest , R. Kolka, S. Sebestyen, E. Verry, and K. Brooks . CRC Press , 6000 Broken Sound Pkwy., NW, Ste. 300, Boca Raton, Florida 33487-2742 . 2011 . 488 pages. $140 . ISBN 978-1-4398-1424-6 .

The Marcell Experimental Forest in Minnesota serves as a living laboratory and provides scientists with fundamental knowledge of peatland hydrology, impacts of peatland hydrology, impacts of atmospheric deposition, nutrient and carbon cycling, trace gas emissions, and controls on mercury transport in boreal forests. The research offers valuable insight into environmental changes over the last century. This research synthesizes five decades of research including professional publications, graduate theses and some unpublished research. The book is divided into 15 chapters with 65 contributors. The topics range from geology to soils, from evapotranspiration to ecosystem carbon storage, and from silviculture to element cycling.

Hydro-climatology: Variability and Change , S.W. Franks, E. Boegh, E. Blyth, D.M. Hannah, and K.K. Yilmaz ( Editors ). IAHS Press , Center for Ecology and Hydrology, Wallingford, Oxfordshire OX10 8BB, United Kingdom . 2011 . 254 pages. £58. ISBN 978-1-907161-19-3 .

This volume includes a selection of peer-reviewed papers on the role of climate variability and change on the land surface hydrology, as well as the role of hydrological dynamics in affecting climate system processes. The papers discuss the multiple interactions and feedbacks between land surface hydrology and climatology. Approximately half of the papers deal with understanding aspects of hydrological systems given historic observed climate variability and/or change.

GRACE, Remote Sensing and Ground-Based Methods in Multi-Scale Hydrology , M. Hafeez ( Editor ). IAHS Center for Ecology and Hydrology , Wallingford, Oxfordshire, OX10 8BB, United Kingdom . 2011 . 196 pages. £50. ISBN 978-1-907161-18-6 .

This volume is a collection of papers that discuss the state of the art on advances in measuring hydrological variability by means of satellite gravimetric techniques, such as Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) mission as well as with other remote sensing platforms and ground-based methods. Collected data are relevant to estimate spatio-temporal surface water balances, spatially averaged water budgets, hydrodynamics, hydrological processes, and characterization of groundwater systems in gauges and ungauged basins.

Conceptual and Modeling Studies of Integrated Groundwater, Surface Water, and Ecological Systems , C. Abesser, L. Elango, G. Nützmann, M.C. Hill, and G. Blöschi ( Editors ). IAHS Center for Ecology and Hydrology , Wallingford, Oxfordshire, OX10 8BB, United Kingdom . 2011 . 271 pages. £62. ISBN 978-1-907161-20-9 .

Interactions between groundwater and surface water are critical to ecological communities and to resource management. This volume contains 42 papers separated into five sections: (1) Improved Process Understanding at Different Scales and in Different Regions; (2) Advanced Modeling Methods and Applications; (3) Sensitivity Analysis and Uncertainty Evaluation; (4) Ecohydrological Studies: From Process Understanding to Management; and (5) Case Studies and Large-Scale Applications.

Cold Regions Hydrology in a Changing Climate , D. Yang, P. Marsh, and A. Gelfau ( Editors ). IAHS Center for Ecology and Hydrology , Wallingford, Oxfordshire, OX10 8BB, United Kingdom . 2011 . 208 pages. £52. ISBN 978-1-907161-21-6 .

This volume of 28 papers is divided into the following five sections: (1) Basin Hydrology; (2) Snow Cover, Permafrost, and Glaciers; (3) Climate; (4) Groundwater; and (5) Ecosystems and Methods. The papers center on high latitude, lowland cold regions. The emphasis is on changes in the characteristics of rivers, lakes, and wetlands in cold regions and their interactions with changing human activities and ecosystems.

Sediment Problems and Sediment Management in Asian River Basins , D.E. Walling ( Editor ). IAHS Center for Ecology and Hydrology , Wallingford, Oxfordshire, OX10 8BB, United Kingdom . 2011 . 221 pages. £52. ISBN 978-1-907161-24-7 .

This volume includes 20 papers on problems such as soil erosion, reservoir sedimentation, the impact of sediment on stream ecology, river morphology, and water resource exploitation. The papers relate these problems and solutions through effective management practices. The emphasis is on case studies from Asian rivers.

Risk in Water Resources Management , G. Bloeschl ( Editor ). IAHS Center for Ecology and Hydrology , Wallingford, Oxfordshire, OX10 8BB, United Kingdom . 2011 . 273 pages . ISBN 978-1-907161-22-3 .

Water resources management has to deal with incomplete knowledge of the current dynamics and the future evolution of water resource systems. Risk is important in decision making. This volume of papers concerning risk and water management is divided into the following three parts: (1) Flood and Drought Hazards (14 papers); (2) Uncertainty and Climate (13 papers); and (3) Water Use and Risk (14 papers).

Water Quality: Current Trends and Expected Climate Change Impacts , N. Peters, V. Krysanova, A. Lepistö, R. Prasad, M. Thoms, R. Wilby, and S. Zandaryaa . IAHS Center for Ecology and Hydrology , Wallingford, Oxfordshire, OX10 8BB, United Kingdom . 2011 . 186 pages. £50 . ISBN 978-1-907161-23-0 .

This volume contains 27 papers divided into the following sections: (1) Seasonality and Extreme Event Effects on Water Quality; (2) Effects on Groundwater Quality; (3) Climate Change and Water Quality Assessment; (4) Climate Change and Water Temperature; and (5) Climate Change and Water Quality Modeling. The objective of the set of papers is to present material on the evaluation of climate change impacts on a broad range of water quality issues, especially those related to human activities.