Reviews and blurbs for
Living with Water Scarcity


4.80 stars (on 12 reviews) at

This Arabic review [pdf] appeared in the Derasat Journal (Bahrain)
This review in the Future of Food: Journal of Food, Agriculture and Society nicely summarizes the book [PDF backup]

Gatesense has a nice summary and overview of the book

CATO's journal, Regulation, printed [pdf] my blogged response to Gary Libecap's review

Kim Weir at Up the Road wrote an excellent three-part summary of the book

Ed Dolan at EconoMonitor says:
Think of this not as a book about water, but as a parable that uses water to tell the larger story of living with scarcity. Every one of its themes has wider applications: How do we get the price right? How do we reconcile the conflicting purposes of people with very different ideas about how best to use scarce resources? What is the relationship between good government and good economics, and between human rights and property rights? How do we best balance benefits that are enjoyed privately with those that are enjoyed jointly through better communities and a better environment? Living with Water Scarcity packs a lot into its 114 pages.

Blurbs (endorsements)

Why do so many governments both subsidize water use and then pay people not to use it? Zetland's message is powerful and convincing. If you are concerned about water scarcity, pay attention to the economics of water use.
Mike Young, Gough Whitlam and Malcolm Fraser Chair
in Australian Studies, Harvard University
Chair in Water and Environmental Policy, University of Adelaide
Honorary Professor, University College London

This field guide to water management includes real-world examples to illustrate the challenges and opportunities available to those who fully engage with the many sides of scarcity. If you want to understand the real importance of taking the same measured approach to water that we do with other scarce resources, this is your book.
Paul W. Lander, PhD, ASLA, LEED AP
Lecturer, Geography & Sustainable Practices Program
University of Colorado-Boulder

Water policy commonly lacks common sense. In this book, using basic economics, David Zetland successfully inserts some badly needed sense into the discussion. It should be required reading for anyone who wants to avoid future shortages of water.
Fredrik Segerfeldt, Author, Water for Sale

David Zetland draws on common sense economics to illustrate how policies that reflect water scarcity to end users can help address many of the water quality and quantity challenges of the 21st century. Concise yet insightful, Living with Water Scarcity offers an empowering program for each of us to seek positive change at our locus in the water system.
Joshua Abbott, Associate Professor
Environmental & Resource Economics
School of Sustainability
Arizona State University

David Zetland embraces the reality of water scarcity but describes a wise and prudent political economy to ensure adequate water for all our human and environmental needs. Water managers and, most importantly, their political leaders, will benefit from this articulate and accessible roadmap to a more sustainable regime of water management.
G. Tracy Mehan, III, former Assistant Administrator for Water
US Environmental Protection Agency

People think of water as something sacred and valuable that "should" be free. So we sprinkle it as if it were holy, but we also use clean, fully potable water to transport raw sewage from our home miles away to a treatment plant. David Zetland tries to bring a bit of rationality to this mass of contradictions by explaining why we can't go on this way. Our real choice is simple: pay more for something sensible, or pay less for nothing. Zetland's humor makes the book fun to read; his serious point makes it imperative to read.
Michael Munger, Professor
Departments of Economics and Political Science
Duke University

An economic perspective on water topics that embraces the reality of too little water to satisfy the 21st century thirsts of cities, farms, and the environment, and lays out common sense economic approaches that may shape a better future. My favorite quote from Zetland's very readable text: "We must be patient with water managers, regulators and politicians who learned their trades in an age of abundance."
David Carle, Author
Introduction to Water in California
Traveling the 38th Parallel: A Water Line around the World
and Water and the California Dream

In concise writing Dr. Zetland offers economic solutions for water problems in a world where overpopulation and mismanagement have done great damage to nature and the environment. Economy, just like modern technology, owes ecology an apology. If read critically, this book could bring a sea change in an economic climate where scarcity is abundant and money often flows like water — down the drain.
Michael van der Valk, Hydrologist and Scientific Secretary
Netherlands National Committee IHP-HWRP (UNESCO & WMO)

Living with Water Scarcity is an elegant little book that applies common sense economics and calm rhetoric to a hot-button issue. Its message is that scarcity is inevitable, so we should learn to live with it. We can use the same tools to manage scarcity as we do with other basic goods. It goes beyond a mechanical application of textbook economics by bringing in political and environmental perspectives. Read, enjoy, learn.
Ed Dolan, Author
There Ain't No Such Thing as a Free Lunch —
A Libertarian Perspective on Environmental Policy

Whether you agree with him or not, Dr. Zetland continues to advance the thinking on economic frameworks for addressing the world's water problems. I happen to agree with him a lot.
Richard Rauschmeier, California Water Policy Advisor

This short book gives a lucid and humane account of many of the key policy issues concerning the water sector that the world must face. Its proposals are economically literate and practical. Anyone interested in how these problems can be tackled in rich and poor countries will benefit from reading it.
Martin Cave, Professor, Imperial College Business School

With the Colorado River's Lake Mead again shrinking towards crisis levels, record droughts and floods becoming the new normal, and chronic groundwater depletions striking even historically wet regions like the Mississippi Delta and the southeastern U.S., Living with Water Scarcity is an essential survival manual for comprehending and managing our predicament. Zetland's book should be read by every water manager, city councilman, and concerned water citizen.
Steven Solomon, Author
WATER: The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power, & Civilization

A re water shortages inevitable during severe droughts? Read this book to learn the deceptively simple answer: no. Zetland delivers a clear and concise account of water scarcity and potential solutions for it. Living with Water Scarcity is engaging and accessible to a broad and diverse audience. It will equip readers with the basic building blocks to solve complex water challenges today and in the future. I recommend it highly.
Dustin Garrick, Philomathia Chair of Water Policy
McMaster University

Living with Water Scarcity brings out the author's message — with which I mostly agree — clearly, effectively, and forcefully. Water may seem a simple issue — just make sure that it is provided to all who need it. But water issues are complex and multidimensional. The book has successfully touched on most of them in a way that is accessible to readers who are willing to go carefully over its presentation and arguments. Water People should be thankful.
Yoav Kislev, Professor Emeritus
Agricultural Economics and Management
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Canadians and others are profligate overusers of water and habitual under-investors in its protection. That is at least partly because apprehension about potential commodification of water has made many citizens unreceptive to any discussion of water in economic terms. But as shortages of useable water in a changing climate become the norm, we will have no choice but to explore ways to better harness market forces to the goal of sustainability. In a remarkably accessible style, David Zetland explores a myriad of ways that can be approached. David's book, Living with Water Scarcity, along with his popular Aguanomics blog will no doubt move the yardsticks forward on this critically important public dialogue.
Ralph Pentland, Author, Down the Drain

Elinor Ostrom showed us how in the real world ordinary people can (and do) reverse the hypothetical "tragedy of the commons" by self-organizing around shared natural resources like wells, streams and wetlands. That Nobel laureate has passed into history, but her spirit is alive and well in the clear words, critical mind, and pragmatic outlook of another California water obsessive, David Zetland.
James G. Workman, Author
Heart of Dryness and co-founder of SmartMarkets

With Living with Water Scarcity, Zetland returns with even simpler messages than those conveyed in his celebrated End of Abundance. Shorter, wittier, and more persuasive, I read Living with Scarcity from cover to cover in one shot, mesmerized by his clear thinking and sharp focus on helping us learn to live with water scarcity.
Alberto Garrido, Associate Professor
Agricultural Economics, Polytechnic University of Madrid
Deputy Director of the Water Observatory

Water scarcity is perhaps a more pressing issue than global warming. Here is an excellent book which informs quickly on how to manage water for society as a whole rather than unfettered private individuals and firms.
Rick van der Ploeg, Professor of Economics
University of Oxford
Research Director, Oxford Centre for the Analysis
of Resource Rich Economies (OxCarre)