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Back to the Well
Back to the Well

Back to the Well

378 pages
Newest edition published:   September 18, 2018
Non-Fiction  /  Nature
Paperback:   9781773100463    $22.95
Hardcover:   9780864920751    $32.95

Shortlisted for the Donner Prize and the Evelyn Richardson Non-Fiction Award

Droughts, floods, and contamination of fresh water in the American Southwest, in the Great Lakes region, in Australia, in northern China, in the Middle East, and in India have broguht the critical issue of water supply to the forefront of public consciousness. In dozens of countries, ordinary citizens have cause to worry about what (or how much) will come out of their taps — if they even have taps — and who will make sure it is available, affordable, and safe.

In this refreshing examination of the fate and future of water, Marq de Villiers takes on some of the biggest questions and shibboleths of the century. Who owns water? Is access to water a human right? Who is responsible for keeping water clean and ensuring it gets to the people who need it most? Is privatization of ownership and supply networks evil or an extension of the public trust?

Fifteen years after the publication of Water: The Fate of Our Most Precious Resource, his influential Governor General's Award-winning book on the water crisis, de Villiers returns with a clear-eyed assessment of the politics of water — from the personal and commercial uses of water to the impact of climate change and global conflicts. Examining how political ideologies often obscure the underlying issues, de Villiers makes the controversial suggestion that there is no global water crisis, but that water problems are fundamentally local and regional and can most effectively be addressed through local, rather than global, action.
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Marq de Villiers is a celebrated author and journalist. He has written 15 books, including Water: The Fate of our Most Precious Resource, winner of the Governor General’s Award for non-fiction and the Canadian Science Writers Award. In 2010, he was appointed to the Order of Canada. He lives in Eagle Head, Nova Scotia


Shortlisted: Donner Prize
Shortlisted: Evelyn Richardson Non-Fiction Award


"Having laid out a discouraging list of the world's water-related problems, de Villiers does not fail to put forward some solutions. In fact, since there are so many different water-related crises, each with its own challenges, he offers a large toolbox of solutions." — Winnipeg Free Press

"This book will ruffle some feathers as well as open some minds, but for anyone who cares about the earth's most precious resource, it is worth the read." — Publishers Weekly

"Marq de Villiers won a Governor General's Literary Award for his 1999 book, Water: The Fate of Our Most Precious Resource, a look at the political, environmental, and cultural uses and misuses of the planet's most essential natural commodity. A decade and a half on, with climate change a pressing issue, de Villiers returns with a companion volume that examines, among other things, the legal ramifications of globalization on the subject of who "owns" the world's increasingly precious and imperilled supply of drinkable water." — Quill & Quire

"Marq de Villiers' book, Back to the Well, argues that, in order to approach solutions to the problems water is facing we need, first of all, to re-frame the debate from considering water as a single global crisis to thinking of the issue as a series of local regional and river basin problems. Instead of thinking globally and acting locally, we need to think AND act locally. The makes water problems easier to solve, not harder." — Community Sustainability Network

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