Back in the late 1990’s I enjoyed playing SimPark on my Windows 95 computer. The premise of the game was to introduce prey and predator into the safari so there was a harmonious balance. It sounds easy, but nature would take its course and the harmony would quickly fall out of balance. Every time you would add one resource there would be a ripple effect over time you had to try and balance.
“The Ripple Effect” explores mankind’s attempt to control water and how every action, like a rock thrown in the pond, has a ripple effect. Here are a few reasons why you should and should not read “The Ripple Effect”.
Reason To Read “The Ripple Effect”:
- This water book starts off with a murder mystery so it grabs you in the first paragraph
- Covers the environmental sins of industrial and pharma companies over the past 100+ years (“Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it” ~ George Santayana)
- Heralds the success of the Clean Water Act (CWA) and the lack of much needed changes in this 40 year old legislation. When the CWA was put into place 85% of the pollution was from obvious specific point sources. 40 years later point source pollution is only 15%, but today 85% of the pollution is non-point solution.
- Covers Shower to Flowers (AKA Toilet to Tap or my personal contribution Certified Pre-Owned Water) used for ground replenishment
- Ever wonder how NYC gets their water? Prud’homme goes deep (600 feet deep) into Tunnel No. 3, the $6 Billion, 40 year construction project scheduled for completion in 2020.
The only thing worse than not having enough water is having too much of it. Man’s attempts to control water has many ripple effects (see #3 below)
Reason Not To Read “The Ripple Effect”:
- Like water moving through a large lake this is a s-l-o-w read of 359 pages.
- Depressing – this is not a feel good book, which may not be all that bad
- It will make you think twice when visiting many areas of the country which have very old, un-engineered, leaking dikes which only need a mild earthquake to fail and have catastrophic affects
- The book may make you hate or at least question the intelligence of cities with 8 million people built where the annual rainfall of 8 inches only support 1 million people. (i.e. Los Angeles)
- The author’s bias and politics come across a little too much for my taste. If you believe life should be fair and it is your responsibility to help those less successful (AKA redistribute wealth) you may not even notice; so this may not be a problem for you. (page 210)
- The stupidity and contradiction of the laws of man vs. the laws of nature should make you mad.
- If you did not know we are in a precarious situation in regards to water then this book may be a disturbing wake up call for you.
Bottom line the book was pretty good. I gained new information and was exposed to a different perspective on topics I was already familiar with. If you are into water I would recommend reading “The Ripple Effect”, but keep in mind my reasons “Not to Read” and don’t get mad when you experience one or several of these 7 disclaimers.