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Water Supply in a Mega-City

A Political Ecology Analysis of Shanghai Michael Webber, Jon Barnett, Brian Finlayson and Mark Wang, The School of Geography, University of Melbourne, Australia
With the increasing threat of depleted and contaminated water supplies around the world, this book provides a timely and much needed analysis of how cities should manage this precious resource. Integrating the environmental, economic, political and socio-cultural dimensions of water management, the authors outline how future mega-city systems can maintain a high quality of life for its residents.
Extent: 296 pp
Hardback Price: $135.00 Web: $121.50
Publication Date: 2018
ISBN: 978 1 78643 392 3
Availability: In Stock
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  • Asian Studies
  • Asian Geography
  • Environment
  • Water
  • Geography
  • Asian Geography
  • Cities and Urban Geography
  • Human Geography
With the increasing threat of depleted and contaminated water supplies around the world, this book provides a timely and much needed analysis of how cities should manage this precious resource. Integrating the environmental, economic, political and socio-cultural dimensions of water management, the authors outline how future mega-city systems can maintain a high quality of life for its residents.

With the rapidly evolving and wealthy Shanghai as the key example, the paradox between the wealth of a city and the quality of its water is uncovered. With a multidisciplinary and multi-scale analysis, the supply of water to cities is discussed in the context of rivers, households, corporations, government and infrastructures. Chapters include the influence of household water use, the political economy of water management, the sources and management of pollution, catchment dynamics, and a Bayesian model for calculating future demand. This comprehensive study shows how essential water management will be to new, developing and expanding cities in the foreseeable future.

Water Supply in a Mega-City will be of interest to researchers from across social, natural and engineering sciences interested in the theoretical and practical management of this essential resource in large cities, as well as those interested in the way cities respond to changing environmental conditions.
‘A very well documented, clearly written and intellectually stimulating account of how, despite sitting at the mouth of one of the world largest rivers, Shanghai has become a place in which you cannot drink the tap water. The book pieces together the properties and capacities of the Changjiang River, the infrastructures, the households, the governments, and corporations to show how particular entanglements of biophysical and human processes have produced such an outcome.’
– François Molle, IRD, France

‘This is much more than a treatise about a city's waterworks. In a rare book-length collaboration between physical and human geographers, Webber et al show in great empirical and analytical detail, and with conceptual depth, that interconnectedness is key to understanding – and therefore dealing with – Shanghai's water supply conundrum. They provide a highly readable account of an immensely complex and large-scale human-environmental problem, one that also reveals much about governance in China at multiple scales. The book will appeal to all with a serious interest in political ecology and assemblage theory as well as to those working in the vital applied field of municipal water provision. Highly recommended.’
– Philip Hirsch, The University of Sydney, Australia

‘In this original work, the authors dive deep to explore why a simple thing like urban water supply is more complex than it looks at first glance. They try to understand water, but even more so they try to understand people.’
– Arjen Y. Hoekstra, University of Twente, the Netherlands
Contents: 1. Assembling water 2. The people of Shanghai and their use of water 3. The behaviour of the Changjiang 4. Scale and the management of water in China 5. “Let’s build a …” 6. The risks of salt intrusions 7. Trusting the water in the taps 8. Would you ever drink the water 9. Why don’t people drink Shanghai’s tap water? References Index