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View Wishlist. Our Awards Booktopia's Charities. We are reading this for the Las Vegas Non-Fiction Book Club because water is a subject of discussion in this city possibly more than many other cities in the developed world. We live in the desert. We do not have a great deal of water here, but there is still a surprising amount of lawns here.

Sedlak talks about Vegas a little, and explains how lawns might be sustained here in the future. He tells us of historical instances where the chemicals that us pesky humans release into the water can affect all the other species on the planet. He does not speculate too much on what might yet to be discovered, but I suppose one could write an entirely separate book on just that.

Sedlak suggests several credible and thought-provoking options for future water systems, but basically concludes that each community will probably come to various different conclusions depending on it's natural resources and cityscape. View 1 comment. Jun 30, Matt rated it really liked it Shelves: math-and-science. Sedlak, a professor of mineral engineering, reviews the history of water management, its current practices and likely future developments.

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He starts with the aqueduct system built in ancient Rome and then traces the infrastructure improvements through the industrial revolution and modern urban water systems. At each stage of development disturbing public health and environmental crises have led to improved methods for treating and distributing sewage and drinking water. The difficult modern trad Sedlak, a professor of mineral engineering, reviews the history of water management, its current practices and likely future developments.

The difficult modern trade-offs of treating drinking water can be understood when he explains the role of chlorine. Chlorine was found to reduce pathogen carrying bacteria that resulted in diseases for people, so it was introduced to treatment facilities. But then a Dutch scientist discovered that chlorine can react with natural organic matter in the drinking water to produce cancer inducing chemicals haloacetic acids. So, treatment plants added small amounts of ammonia to chlorine to create less reactive compounds called choloramines.

But without pure chlorine maintaining a bio-film on lead pipes, cities risked introducing lead into the drinking supply, which is bad. Finally, a small amount of chlorine was reintroduced into most water treatment facilities to maintain the bio-film, but reduce the likelihood of creating cancer inducing chemicals. Water management is a tricky topic.

The rest of the book deals with potential avenues of conservation high efficiency appliances, etc. This is a fascinating book on a subject that more people need a base understanding of to make informed decisions. The history and explanatory parts of this book are excellent and anyone would do well to read it.

Where it falls a bit short, in my opinion, is on the policy prescriptions, which seem to have a bit of a geekish exuberance for things that may never come to pass. As someone with a background in energy law and policy, I've heard a lot of the same type of advice before: we have to do more conserving; distributed generation the way it was in the good old days before Insull , or, in this case, water The history and explanatory parts of this book are excellent and anyone would do well to read it.

As someone with a background in energy law and policy, I've heard a lot of the same type of advice before: we have to do more conserving; distributed generation the way it was in the good old days before Insull , or, in this case, water treatment will save us; and a recitation of the failings of utilities when confronted with an uninformed public. For better or worse, it simply doesn't matter if the public is uninformed. With energy, they want to put gas in their tank or make their car go, however it needs to go and not go broke, they want the lights on in their house and, likewise, with water, they want it to be affordable and available.

California deposed a governor over his perceived failure to keep the lights on.


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I can only imagine how we might react if the same thing happened with water. We see this almost daily when it comes to global warming. Scientists, who are usually quite good at saying how things are instead of how they should be, don't understand why persuasion, including horrible things like marketing, have to be used to get lots of people to part with lots of money in a democracy.

This isn't to say that they're wrong—and Sedlak isn't wrong. He just may need to be right in a different way. Jul 04, Aaron Yin rated it really liked it. The title makes it sound like the book will talk in depth about problems facing water on a global scale e. Instead, the book focuses on the evolution of urban water systems and the challenges that they will face in the next few decades.

It's well written, really breaks down the science involved in water contamination, drinking water and sewage treatment, etc.

The Past, Present, and Future of the World's Most Vital Resource

The issue I have i The title makes it sound like the book will talk in depth about problems facing water on a global scale e. The issue I have is just that after reading the book, I don't feel any urgency to fix our water "crises. Basically, it's hype followed by a letdown.

Hopefully other water books will make up for the gaps in knowledge and highlight problems that will require more than incremental solutions. Jun 25, Liam rated it it was amazing. It is an exemplary model for outreach and the building of trust in the community. When's the last time you thought about where your water comes from? Are you living under the delusion that your water has always been pure, that it hasn't been used by some other person previously? This book makes you think about, question, and care about where you water comes from and where it goes when you're done with it.

The chemical process descriptions made my eyes glaze over a bit, but the information inside is incredibly relevant and interesting.

Water 4.0: The Past, Present, and Future of the World's Most Vital Resource

Our solutions are going to continue to tu When's the last time you thought about where your water comes from? Our solutions are going to continue to turn to reuse, to reclamation, and he makes a pretty good argument for this option. The author states clearly that upcoming water crises are imminent due to climate change and population growth.

Major revamping of urban water systems will be required. The book attempts to render the public informed via a comprehensive and authoritative account of the history of centralized water supply and sewage systems, water and sewage treatment, and water conservation. New technological initiatives and advances are canvassed. Ultimately in a democracy the populace needs to be engaged and th The author states clearly that upcoming water crises are imminent due to climate change and population growth.

Ultimately in a democracy the populace needs to be engaged and this is the main purpose of the book. Four stars. Dec 31, Nathan Howell rated it it was amazing. Very good books on history of water in environmental and sanitation engineering context. Really focuses on urban and suburban water over other uses, but it delves well into water quantity, quality, law, and regulation. Sedlak has a strong background in water, and is authoritative.


  1. Table of Contents for: Water 4.0 : the past, present, and futur!
  2. Stanford Libraries;
  3. "Water The Past, Present, and Future of the World's Most Vital Res" by Brian Smith.
  4. Frameworks, Artworks, Place: The Space of Perception in the Modern World (Consciousness, Literature and the Arts, Volume 11).
  5. If you don't know much about drinking water, wastewater, and how these things affect our past, present, and future, this is the book for you. Jun 06, Carrie rated it really liked it Shelves: non-fiction-memoirs , books-i-own , green-reads , xreads. This is the book that I had always wish existed. Professor Sedlak nailed it on the head that, before Water 4. This book should be on the curriculum for every civil engineering and environment science program.

    And while the book provided several chapters summarizing the problems we have ahead, I thought Sedlak would provide a little more on his future vision - that's my only cr This is the book that I had always wish existed. And while the book provided several chapters summarizing the problems we have ahead, I thought Sedlak would provide a little more on his future vision - that's my only criticism. Shelves: non-fiction-science. I was expecting David Sedlak's "Water 4. It is more of a history of water delivery and sewage disposal rather than water rights.

    Given that my expectations were not met, the book was surprisingly satisfying to read. I learned more than I could have imagined about water delivery and disposal. Very glad that our book club made this selec I was expecting David Sedlak's "Water 4.

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    Very glad that our book club made this selection. Jan 29, Ariadna73 rated it it was amazing Shelves: health-and-health-care , science , history , chronics. This book describes in detail the history of the water we consume, from old Rome to our present day, and then proposes the well known recycling system to take the waste water from our sewage systems and turn it into drinking water again. He sees it coming, I see it coming.

    Book Review: "Water 4.0: The Past, Present, and Future of the World’s Most Vital Resource"

    It will hurt our wallets and our roads, but in the end is the only solution for the water problem, and frankly, I think that it is not that bad. First two-thirds about the development of modern water and sanitation sections were excellent and fascinating, but the last section about the development of future water systems - "Water 4.

    Definitely worth reading if you're interested in learning about one of the unsung backbones of urban life and city development. Jan 24, Alan Bach rated it really liked it. While at time Sedlak rambles, he gives a good overview of the three previous water revolutions of the world and a 4th to come, what innovations we have lost along the way, what we need to do to patch up our current water infrastructure, and what we could do in the future to make water more sustainable.

    Nov 23, Tyler Achberger rated it really liked it. Had to read this for class and I actually quite enjoyed it.