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The Protection and Conservation of Water Resources (second edition)


This, for me, is a disappointing book.  The concept – pulling together the issues surrounding water resource conservation and protection in relation to the UK – is good.  It is hard to fulfil, however, in a single volume.  It ought, perhaps, to have been longer – despite filling 437 quite dense pages already – or possibly shorter.  The structure, too, is good, moving from policy and procedure, and resource availability, via institutions, legislation and “the catchment approach”, to bulk supply, water quality and environmental issues, before looking at possible solutions and water policies, and finally reviewing lessons learned elsewhere.

I have found the book difficult to read.  Some of the problem may lie in the editing.  One should not, perhaps, find the terms phosphorus and phosphorous confused in a book like this, or, indeed, both sulphate and sulfate in use.  Statements like “… the Scottish government [aims] to take responsibility [for] minimising the potential for reducing flood risk” (p37) or “… it is intense rainfall events … which initiate rainfall” (p269) tend not to induce confidence, either.  There are many similar examples.  The book includes large numbers of citations, making it a potentially useful source work.  The reference list – around 900 entries – seems to be incomplete, however, and is not entirely in alphabetic order, so it can be difficult to find specific items.  Finally, in this rather negative context, many of the figures need colour to be useful.  As most are reproduced from previous works, many by others, this might not always have been practical, however.

The incorporation in the text of lists summarising various issues is very helpful.  The lists include, inter alia, the principal functions and statutory responsibilities of the Environment Agency, and, elsewhere, the basic problems associated with the protection and rehabilitation of aquifers.  Some lists may be of differing relevance to different readers, too.  The list of 48 broads, meres, cuts, etc, given in the key to Figure 8.1 can be expected to be of most interest those working in the area.  The figure was difficult to take in, however, as few of the various features were mentioned in the text and, even when they were, their reference numbers were not brought across from the key.

In general, this book whose high quality production is not matched by the quality of the writing.

Reviewed by Jeremy Joseph

THE PROTECTION AND CONSERVATION OF WATER RESOURCES (SECOND EDITION) by HADRIAN F COOK, 2017.  Published by: Wiley Blackwell, Chichester, UK.  ISBN: 978-1-119-97004-0.  Hardback.  437 pp.  List Price £75.  Kindle edn. £71.25.  W: