ALN logo; link to Arid Lands Newsletter home page No.56, November-December 2004
Water efficiency I: Cities

Selected resources of interest


Office of Arid Lands Studies web site

The Office of Arid Lands Studies (OALS), publisher of the Arid Lands Newsletter, is pleased to announce the availability of its extensively redesigned web site at the above address. In particular, the new site provides easier access to information according to OALS' major Program Areas:

  • Decision Support Systems Development
  • Food Security Assessment and Agricultural Monitoring
  • Land Use Planning and Management
  • Natural Products Chemistry and Genetics, Economic Botany, and New Crop Development
  • Natural Resources Monitoring and Assessment
  • Water and Land Conservation and Reclamation
  • Information Dissemination, Knowledge Transfer, and Education

ALN readers are invited to bookmark the new address and visit often to find out more about OALS and its numerous activities in support of sustainable development and use of the world's drylands.

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Domestic Wastewater Treatment in Developing Countries. By Duncan Mara. London: Earthscan, 2004. 293 pp. ISBN 1-84407-019-0 (paperback). GBP 29.95
Available from:
Earthscan / James & James
8-12 Camden High Street
London NW1 0JH
[U.S. readers should order this book through the following Web site:]

This book examines all aspects of design, treatment, operation and re-use of domestic wastewater. Its 22 chapters cover such essential topics as domestic wastewater treatment options; wastewater flows and loads; preliminary treatment; waste stabilization ponds (WSPs) including their physical design, operation, maintenance, monitoring and evaluation; anaerobic ponds; faculative ponds; maturation ponds; wastewater storage and treatment reservoirs; constructed wetlands; upflow anaerobic sludge blanket reactors; and biofiltration. Throughout, its emphasis is on "low-cost, low-energy, low-maintanence, high-performance systems" that promote environmental sustainability by producing high-quality effluents that can safely be used for crop irrigation or in aquaculture systems. Much of this book covers the more technical aspects of wastewater treatment making it ideal for engineers, academics and upper-level students studying engineering, wastewater management and public health, as well as others with an interest in sustainable and cost-effective technologies for reducing wastewater-related diseases and environmental damage.

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The following two books are available from:
Resources for the Future
Hopkins Fulfillment Services
P.O. Box 5037
Baltimore, MD 21211-4370
Fax: 410-516-6998

Pricing irrigation water: Principles and cases from developing countries. By Yacov Tsur, Terry Roe, Rachid Doukkali, and Ariel Dinar. Washington, DC: RFF Press. 319 pp. ISBN: 1-891853-76-7 (hb). USD $65.00.

As nations' economies become ever more interlinked through globalization, the value of their irrigation water becomes more sensitive to competition and world markets. National and regional water policy must accommodate these forces or water is likely to become undervalued. Inefficient water use will lower a country's competitive advantage and hamper its efforts to raise the economic standard of living of its citizens, particularly in rural areas. Not only that: irrigation frequently is hugely ineffective, losing as much as two-thirds of the water before the water even reaches the crops. Because agriculture uses 70-90% of the world's accessible water, improved irrigation will provide benefits well beyond the agricultural sector and well beyond the purely economic. Yet, policies such as water pricing that are aimed at managing demand for water, are still not widely utilized in many parts of the world. This is in spite of the fact that water pricing is widely regarded by water experts as a sound water resource management policy. The problem is that there is currently no real consensus on how best to implement such policies. This book is aimed at helping fill this gap. With examples from China, Mexico, Morocco, South Africa, and Turkey, it develops a new framework for assessing water pricing policies, linking the microeconomic analysis of farm-level demand for irrigation water to the macroeconomics of policies on trade. Within this framework, examples of how to compare different irrigation water pricing mechanisms under different conditions provide tools for policy-makers and water managers who want to assess the way water is utilized.

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Common waters, diverging streams: Linking institutions and water management in Arizona, California and Colorado. By William Blomquist, Edella Schlager, and Tanya Heikkila. Washington, DC: RFF Press, 2004. 205 pp. ISBN: 1-891853-86-4 (pb); USD $30.95.

The three U.S. states on which this book focuses all adopted conjunctive management of groundwater and surface water as a means of managing water resources more efficiently. Yet, because each state has implemented and practiced these management strategies differently, the outcomes achieved have also been very disparate. The book focuses on determining why this is so, given that all three of these neighboring regions are attempting to use similar policy reforms to solve similar problems. Among the strengths of this book is its description of how conjunctive management came into being and how it has been practiced, its successes and failures, and how its application is affected by institutional arrangements. Another strength is that this book presents an actual case study with explicit, real-world examples of how conjunctive management has worked in practice. As the authors show, disparities in conjunctive management policies can be explained by differences in state laws and regulations, legal doctrines, the organizations governing and managing water supplies, and the division of authority between state and local government.

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Conserving migratory pollinators and nectar corridors in western North America. Edited by Gary Paul Nabhan. (Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum studies in natural history.) Tucson, AZ: Univ. of Arizona Press, 2004. 191 pp. ISBN: 0-8165-2254-5 (hb). USD $40.00.
Available from:
The University of Arizona Press
355 S. Euclid Ave., Suite 103
Tucson, AZ 85719

Some 80% of the world's food crops depend on pollinators for reproduction. In recent decades, a growing understanding of the importance of these plant-pollinator interactions has led to a paradigm shift from protecting individual species to protecting inter-species relationships and landscape-level ecological processes. These relations and processes are perhaps particularly important in the case of migratory pollinators, especially when their migratory routes pass through more than one country or other human jurisdiction. Along their path, such pollinators follow a "nectar trail" of successive plant communities in bloom. If any of these plants are eliminated from the sequence, the pollinators' very survival may be threatened, as well as their crucial services to agriculture and human communities. The essays collected in this book focus on studies of important migratory pollinators in the American West and consider what steps must be taken to conserve them. Specific species given a major emphasis in this work include rufous hummingbirds, white-winged doves, lesser long-nosed bats, and monarch butterflies. The editor's and contributors' hope is that the book will both inform and inspire even more tangible conservation efforts for such species, ultimately leading to the restoration of healthy relationships among these migrant pollinators, plants, and the habitats that support them.


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