An Introduction to


Chapter 13


Annotated Bibliography

  1. Ball, Philip, 2000, H2O: A Biography of Water, London: Phoenix (Orion).

    Of all the many books on the rather wondrous qualities of water, this is probably the most comprehensive yet still rather quirky account. Discussion ranges from Old Testament references to water to the Big Bang. Ball is an accomplished science writer who was editor of the journal Nature for over 20 years.

  2. De Villiers, Marq, 2001, Water: the Fate of Our Most Precious Resource, Boston: Houghton Miffin.

    Canadian environmental journalist Marq de Villiers was probably the first of many to present an engaging, big picture account of water. This multiple prize winning book looks at the ecological function of water and historical and cultural shifts in the ways in which it has been perceived by humans. It predicts a steady increase in tension and conflict over access to freshwater supplies.

  3. Miller, G. Tyler and Scott E. Spoolman, 2008, 13th edition, Environmental Science, Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole, Chapter 11.

    This is a strong chapter in the world’s leading environmental science textbook.

  4. Perkowitz, Sidney, 2001, ‘The Rarest Element’, in David Rothernberg and Marta Ulvaeus (eds) Writing on Water, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press (Terra Nova), pp 3-14.

    Esteemed US scientist Sidney Perkowitz explains why scientists continue to be fascinated by water in his contribution to this beautifully presented book, which also features poems, essays and photos by a wide range of contributors.

  5. Solomon, Steven, 2010, Water: The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power, and Civilization, New York: Harper Perennial.

    In the tradition established by Marq de Villiers, US journalist Steven Solomon turns his attention to water in arguably the most compelling account of them all. Although it is written primarily for an American audience, this book is very well researched and constructed. It carries a wealth of information and ideas.

  6. Reddy, V. Ratna and Geoffrey Syme, 2014, ‘Social sciences and hydrology: An introduction,’ Journal of Hydrology 518, pp 1-4.

    This is an introduction to a special edition of the Journal of Hydrology on social science and hydrology. In this introduction, the edition editors explain why it has become more important than ever before for people interested in the science of hydrology to work with people who have expertise in policy development and implementation.

  7. Robertson, Margaret 2914, chapter 7 in Sustainability: Principles and Practice, Abingdon: Earthscan/Routledge

    A good concise overview of issues, challenges, and some responses

  8. Whitehead, Mark 2014, Environmental Transformations, pp 28-41, London: Routledge

    An innovative section on water in a well-crafted textbook.

Annotated Links to Further Web Resources

  1. Global Water Project

    GWP was formed in 1996 as a global network aimed at improving the governance and management of water resources worldwide.

  2. International Water Management Institute

    IWMI is an international NGO based in Sri Lanka which has operated for more than 30 years. The website presents lots of up-to-date information on global water issues.

  3. Water and Sanitation Program

    WSP is an international agency that is funded by a wide range of organisations including the World Bank. It aims to improve water security and sanitation for poor communities and is working in 25 different countries.

  4. Water Research Foundation

    Established in 1966, the US-based Water Research Foundation seeks to facilitate water research projects. The website provides access to a wide range of resources.

  5. Water Web

    This website provides a directory of water websites presented alphabetically. While the emphasis is on organisations working in the USA, the list contains a range of organisations operating elsewhere in the world.

  6. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (USA)

    NOAA is the agency charged with protecting American coastal and marine resources. Its website contains information about the world's oceans and marine resources, including information about marine protected areas.

  7. Conservation International

    This is the website of the US-based non-government organisation that offers expertise in a wide range of areas, including water management and marine protected areas.

  8. UN Food and Agriculture Organization

    The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization provides access to good information about world poverty from the perspectives of food and water shortages.

Annotated Links to Video Clips

  1. Water Scarcity

    Duration: 3:48

    Very informative slide show presented by FAOWater. No voice-over, so they can be used as background slides.

  2. The growing fears of water scarcity: Fact or fiction

    Duration: 4:44

    This is a 2013 television interview in which Peter Lochery of CARE International explains why water scarcity is a growing problem globally. Lochery is a water engineer with over 30 years of experience internationally.

  3. How Will Water Scarcity Change the World, StevenSolomon

    Duration: 4:28

    Author Steven Solomon presents a challenging view of the global, social and political consequences of growing water scarcity.

  4. Pacific Garbage Dump

    Duration: 5:23

    This is a 2008 television report on the so-called vortex of garbage gathering in particular parts of the Pacific Ocean. Although the size and scope of floating islands of trash in the Pacific have sometimes been exaggerated, this report shows that plastic trash in the ocean is a major and growing environmental threat.

  5. Overfishing: The consequences

    Duration: 2:34

    This is a powerful short video on the dangers presented by overfishing globally.

  6. Overfishing: Revolution World Issue

    Duration: 8:54

    A well-presented and informative account of the dangers of overfishing in the world's oceans.

  7. NOAA Ocean Today Video: Marine Protected Areas

    Duration: 1:39

    This is a very short but informative presentation on marine protected areas in America.

  8. Save Our Seas: A short film on marine conservation zones

    Duration: 6:30

    This is a compelling 2013 film on the importance of marine conservation zones in UK waters.

  9. Marine Reserves for Taiwan

    Duration: 3:52

    This is an excellent case study on the dangers of overfishing and the need for new forms of protection. Presented by Greenpeace.

  10. Marine Protected Areas: A Success Story

    Duration: 57:49

    An educational video produced by University of California TV.

Group Activities

  1. ‘Plenty of fish in the sea?’

    Submitted by: Anthony Richardson, RMIT University, Australia


    This is a case study around overfishing (of the orange roughy) designed to demonstrate both/either the Tragedy of the Commons or the nature of complex (wicked) problems and the lack of a clear solution.


    First, put students in four groups and outline the context of the issue (using the images on ‘orange_roughy_context.docx’) and ask each group to examine one of the four pieces of information about the issue:

    1. Info about the orange roughy (lifecycle and behaviour)
    2. The UN convention on fishing
    3. The importance of the orange roughy fishing industry (to NZ)
    4. Legal concerns

    This then becomes a jigsaw reading, where one student from each group is moved into a new group and must then outline their facet of the complex issue to the rest of their new group.

    Next, these new groups (possibly on a big piece of butcher’s paper) map the background issues, outline the stakeholders and then offer possible ways of approaching the solution. It’s crucial to ask students to be aware at this stage of the activity of what cultural or philosophical attitudes/constructs they are using to approach the issue; e.g. nation states can/cannot divide up the ocean; ‘there will always be more fish in the ocean,’ etc.

    Finally, have each group report to the whole class outlining both their analysis of the issue (background and stakeholders) and their possible approach to addressing the issue.