In countries where scarce surface water causes disease and conflict, an abundance of water can bring peace.
With the growing impact of climate change, an estimated one third of the world's population lacks fresh water. By 2050 it could well be over half, some five billion people.
Alain Gachet, known as the "Wizard of H2O", explores and unravels the interrelated humanitarian, environmental, scientific and geo-political concerns generated by water scarcity. An archaeological explorer and mining engineer, Gachet has developed a technology (using Nasa satellite imagery) to identify massive aquifers beneath the earth's surface using a mathematical algorithm that could completely change our future.
As well as exploring our current environmental crisis (and offering some solutions), Gachet gives an account of his extraordinary adventures as a mining engineer both before and since he became an expert in deep groundwater - in Congo; in Libya, where he has an audience with Colonel Gaddafi; in Darfur, where he works alongside refugee agencies to provide water to vast camps, often at risk to his life; in Iraq and in Kurdistan, where he encounters both the Peshmerga and the Yazidi people; and in the Turkana region of Kenya, where his discoveries of vast underground reservoirs have been transformative to the lives of the people in an area plagued by drought and disputes over livestock for generations.
Gachet discusses the critical issues of climate change and desertification, melting glaciers and rising sea levels, but this is also a book about the people he meets in some of the world's most challenging zones of conflict and deprivation. Ultimately this is a book of hope as we explore some of the solutions for the future.
"If the quest to find high-quality water for millions has a superstar, that person is Alain Gachet. Living a truly adventurous life in a scientific field where underground water is hidden and elusive, he has advanced the science and, at the same time, uniquely served society. This is an exciting story of risk, daring, hydrophilanthropy, and reflection on one of the most important challenges facing humankind."
DAVID K. KREAMER, President, International Association of Hydrogeologists
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Date of Publication: 20/07/2023