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Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water

3.6  ·  Rating details ·  263 Ratings  ·  43 Reviews
In a book hailed by " Publishers Weekly " as a ?passionate plea for access to water activism, OCO " Blue Covenant " addresses an environmental crisis that?together with global warming?poses one of the gravest threats to our survival.
How did the worldOCOs most vital resource become imperiled? And what must we do to pull back from the brink? In ?stark and nearly devastating
ebook, 209 pages
Published May 14th 2014 by New Press (first published 2007)
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Community Reviews

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Shannon (Giraffe Days)
I want to warn you: this review turned into a bit of a personal rant, 'cause while Barlow might keep a cool calm head about it, I am a different matter entirely!

Growing up in little ol' Tassie, the state that the rest of Australia considers to be cold and wet (but isn't really), during the 80s, the big things I was always hearing about were drought, greenhouse gases and the hole in the ozone layer. I always figured, since I absorbed these pressing concerns as a child, that everyone was concerned
I found this book to be quite hyperbolic and uneven. I actually agree with Ms. Barlow - and work in water in the public sector. But, she does not provide a well balanced analysis - she talks about places where private water systems failed, but never mentions where public systems have similarly failed, or any places where private water has worked - too much cherry-picking. I respect her advocacy, but this is really just another book, similar to her other ones, geared to whipping up opposition - i ...more
Reading challenge 2015 #nonfiction-book 2/50
Water is a human right. Don't buy bottled water.
Headline and lead from a recent news story:

Worst Drought in More Than a Century Threatens Texas Oil Boom
The worst Texas drought since record-keeping began 116 years ago may crimp an oil and natural- gas drilling boom as government officials ration water supplies crucial to energy exploration.
In the hardest-hit areas, water-management districts are warning residents and businesses to curtail usage from rivers, lakes and aquifers. The shortage is forcing oil companies to go farther afield to buy
Alberto Lopez
Feb 22, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Imagine I try to convince you of an idea by first overwhelming you with dry data until you cry 'uncle' and admit I am credible. Imagine that I then hide my strong prejudices, yet use these as the backbone of my thesis. Imagine that I make a moral argument without giving you the opportunity to question morality's relevance. Well, if you read Blue Covenant, a clear insult to your intelligence, you won't have to imagine any of it. The author will scream that you are an imbecile to your face. There ...more
Sam Schreck
Mar 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Water shortage and usage is continuing to become a growing concern for federal governments. Maude Barlow portrays the future of water in her nonfiction novel, Blue Covenant. Barlow goes in depth about the government's methods on the water crisis and the privatization of water in the world. She laces the novel with abundant information in every paragraph. The first few chapters have information relevant to teenagers, but as the book continues on, she transitions to describe the problems with wate ...more
Alexander Tas
Jun 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: environment
A far more focused book than Blue Gold, Barlow dissects how corporations have made water their next goal. Barlow begins by breaking down how severe our current water problems are and where we are headed, before launching into an analysis of how corporations have convinced the world that they are our saviors when it comes to providing water to the masses who do not have access.

While Barlow does not get into too much detail about how corporate entities (empowered by local, regional and national g
Mar 22, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People concerned about the future
In a nutshell:

" The three water crises -- dwindling freshwater supplies, inequitable access to water and the corporate control of water -- pose the greatest threat of our time to the planet and to our survival. Together with the impending climate change from fossil fuel emissions, the water crises impose some life-or-death decisions on us all. Unless we collectively change our behavior, we are heading toward a world of deepening conflict and potential wars over the dwindling supplies of freshwa
Jonathan Tennis
Apr 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A well researched book on an essential subject. We cannot live without water and while climate change gets its day in the court of public opinion / concern, water is rarely discussed.

The intro to the final chapter gives a great summation of the issues we face with water.

"The three water crises - dwindling freshwater supplies, inequitable access to water and the corporate control of water - pose the greatest threat of our time to the planet and to our survival. Together with impending climate c
Sep 03, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There was a lot of information in this book if you have a grasp of the Organizations, groups and Government agencies mentioned (and there are quite a few, its almost as if she's name dropping) sadly there is too few mentions of concrete things to do to end the cycle we seem to be stuck in. I guess this book may have been written for those that didn't know politicians make policies then go to work in the self same industries they had been charged to regulate. And that we spend crazy amount on bot ...more
Othón León
Nov 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: current-affairs
A tremendous warning is the one Maude Marlow makes with this wonderful book... fascinating in essence, it lets us know why we must head towards a different kind of "growth"... simple: we are finishing even water supplies! the degree of detail she describes cannot be interpreted other than a last warning... either we rationalize our economies (world, national and even individual) or we are condemned to a next war: for water!

Referring to water, Ms. Barlow says: "...those areas of life thought to b
Paco Lampinen
Kirjan nimi on veden varassa ja sen on kirjoittanut kanadalainen Maude Barlow.
Kirja kertoo maailman nykyisestä vesitilanteesta ja mahdollisesta veden tulevaisuudesta.

Itsekin olen erittäin huolestunut asiasta mutta en ole varma mitä minun pitäisi tehdä asialle. Tuntuu vain siltä että joudun katsomaan vierestä kun vedestä käydään poliittista sotaa, vesiyhtiöt tuottavat hirveästi rahaa ja pahentavat tilannetta, vesistöt saastuvat ja puhdas makea vesi loppuu kokonaan planeetaltamme. Kirja kertoo hy
Aug 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Incredibly interesting book. I met Maude at an event last week and picked up her book. I intend to also pick up her previous work, Blue and Gold. This is a startling look at an issue that has been knocking at our door but we have not bothered to acknowledge. When you examine many of the worlds conflicts through the prism of water and access to water may pieces fall into place. This book will make you think twice about your water consumption and the type of world you want in the future.
Mar 07, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Polemic discourse against private water companies. Her analysis is thin and lacked any evidence that her proposed model (which only comes in the last 10 pages of the book) would work any better than the model promoted by the World Bank (whose failures are thoroughly addressed). She applauds Uruguay's new water system but gives no numbers to indicate that it is actually working. Perhaps her Blue Gold book presents a stronger argument...
May 29, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Although the topic is interesting and increasingly relevant, the entire book is mostly a list of facts barely assembled into paragraphs and chapters. Barlow seems to be trying to draw the reader into joining the cause, but fails to do so through his lack of narrative, which is ultimately disappointing as the story would seem to be rather compelling for anyone hoping to be able to get a drinkable glass of water from their kitchen tap 20 years from now.
So fresh water is becoming scarce due to the prevalence of industrial agriculture, the increasing population, and poor water management (e.g. deep drilling for ground water, big dams funded by the world bank, etc.) Meanwhile water has come under the control of international conglomerates whose profit margins will increase as the crisis worsens. If you're at all interested in this topic, skip the book and go right to a film called FLOW (For Love of Water). Great movie.
Jan 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Barlow explains the hydrologic cycle, water systems presently in use today, as well as the role private water companies are playing across the world today. She warns about preserving wetlands and forests, costs of desalination. She points out that private companies cannot foster needed conservation.
Jan 24, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Another one where I just found things lacking. I've read so much about the water movement that it takes something new and unique to reach me so this is sort of unfair but I think Blue Gold was a lot better. This one just seemed like a summary of her other books or other water rights books in general.
Katie Allan
Feb 19, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
interesting book so far. definitely depressing. as a resident of california the water crisis is always a topic of discission. i agree with barlows assertion that water should be considered a human right and appreciate her coverage of how water is slowly...i mean quickly becoming privatized. scared to finish the book because i will need to address the question, what should i do?!
Maude Barlow made the transition from housewife to feminist activist in the 1970s, eventually advising former prime minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau on women's issues. In the 1980s, she shifted her attention to the long battle against Canada's free trade agreements.

read more ...
Sep 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Must read book on the condition of the earth's hydrological system. Highly recommended.

I agree with Barlow that in the future wars will not be fought so much over oil as they will over water. It is the single most pressing issue of our time.
Aug 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A vital read for all. Water is a human right, not a commodity. We need to protect our freshwater sources now more than ever, as they have been polluted, misused, and used to excess and for profit. The war for water is imminent unless our mindset changes and we stop the privatization of water.
Brady Fish
Aug 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you want to own your conservative uncles, aunts, older siblings, grandpas, grandmas etc. on the details of the inevitable problem of water in the world (especially with our pals Coca-Cola and Pepsi doing what they do best) - read this book.
May 14, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A bit tough to read - a little text bookish, but very important information for us to know. If you think having oil removed from your life would be shattering - you need to start understanding what is already happening regarding water.
Nov 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really informative and, even though this is one of those horrible crises that make you want to pretend you don't actually live on this planet, the book does not freak you out. Rather, it informs and inspires. A definite must read.
Nov 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Barlow, an expert in international water privatization, delivers an up-to-date look at water mining techniques and the future of nuclear desalination plants. This read is more digestible for the average reader than Blue Gold. It really puts the problems into perspective.
May 14, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ok... here's the sobering quote from this book:

"It is evident that the world is moving toward a corporate-controlled freshwater cartel, with private companies, backed by governments and global institutions, making fundamental decisions about who has access to water and under what conditions."
A bit heavy going, but mostly because it is depressing. Strop drinking bottled water while you are reading this review.
Nov 01, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
oh, no good. tiresome. screed.
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desalination 1 5 Jan 18, 2009 05:58PM  
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