Water roundup: new books & reports on groundwater and security

Over the weekend I mentioned a new (open access) book on Water, Society, and Technology.

There are a couple of other new resources to be had, both from (or related to) work by the OECD.

The first is the new report “Securing water, sustaining growth” from the Global Water Partnership and the OECD, led by World Bank economist Claudia Sadoff and coauthored with numerous folks at Oxford and the GWP. You can download the full report by visiting this webpage.

A second book, also open access, is on groundwater and agriculture: Dry wells, rising stakes. You can download the book in French or English here. Here’s the short blurb on it: “Groundwater has provided great benefits to agriculture irrigation in semi-arid OECD countries, but its intensive use beyond recharge in certain regions has depleted resources and generated significant negative environmental externalities. The report provides a characterisation of the diversity of groundwater systems, reviews policies in OECD countries, and proposes a package of recommendations to ensure that groundwater can sustain its services to agriculture and contribute to climate change adaptation.”


James C. Scott: How Grains Domesticated Us

I’ve been kicked in the biosphere: Tim Morton on agrilogistics

Tim Morton (Rice University) has a new piece up entitled “I’ve been kicked in the biosphere.” As with a fair bit of Morton’s writing, it has his particular cadence, and is enjoyable to read.

What I found interesting in the piece is that Morton, like so many others – from the French philosophes to American naturalists – is returning to the “land question” and what to do with agriculture. Morton’s take is that there is a whole set of industrial and logistical programs in place that are built upon, and entwined with, agriculture. Or what he calls agrilogistics. I think, but am not positive, that Morton is the first of the new realists to look at the agricultural question. I don’t see a lot that is new on this front just yet, but will look forward to seeing how he develops this strain of thought in future works. I listened to some of his Wellek Lectures, where he talked a little about agrilogistics. I tend not to think of lectures as the sorts of things one should cite, since very often people follow something that occurs to them in the moment – as they think something through publicly – that they don’t pursue later. And since I think that is precisely what makes lectures fascinating, I’ll wait to see what more comes out in print from Morton with respect to his take on the land question.

Paul Thompson: ethical issues in agriculture: organic, locavore and genetic modification