City of Water
City of Water
Some people claim bottled water is safer and healthier to drink than water from the tap. But in most places with managed water systems, this isn’t true at all. Tap water in Calgary, Alberta, is tested 150,000 times a year- that’s more than 400 times a day!
A bottle of water also costs up to two thousand times more than the same amount of water coming from a tap, requires two thousand times more energy to produce and uses more water in the production process than an average bottle can actually hold!
Plus, 91 per cent of all plastic, including those water bottles, never gets recycled. Instead, it ends up choking landfills, fresh water and oceans.
Many people take water for granted. City of Water, the second in the “ThinkCities” series, shows readers that water is a precious and limited resource which needs to be protected for present and future generations. The book begins with a brief history of water supply systems, some of which date back to 2500 BCE. However, despite such a long history, more than two billion people worldwide still do not have access to fresh, safe water in their homes. Readers will learn how water gets to cities and homes via rainfall and melting snow collecting in lakes, oceans and reservoirs, from groundwater and aquifers, and aqueducts that transport water through a series of underground pipes. There is basic information about the steps in water treatment, desalination of ocean water to make it potable, and the recycling of waste water. Other topics include the effects of climate change, drought and pollution on water as well as examples of water-related projects designed to treat, conserve and protect water in various parts of the world. Interspersed throughout the text are facts and statistics which reinforce the concepts presented. Some of these are quite interesting, such as the fact that in a city of one million people, there could be $13 million worth of metal in the sewage from microscopic particles of gold, silver and other elements from grooming products, detergents, electronics and industry waste which have been flushed down the drain. Finally, there is a list of 15 ways that people can help to conserve water in their homes and how they can advocate for clean water.
The text presents excellent information and encourages readers to become good stewards of a finite resource. Brush and ink illustrations, rendered in cartoon style and a limited colour palette, both enhance the text and simplify the more advanced concepts. A glossary and a list of related websites and books for further research conclude City of Water.
Gail Hamilton is a former teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, Manitoba.