Early on in this excellent examination of the state of one of the earth's most important resources, Dolan (Our Poisoned Sky, 1991, etc.) warns readers not to take on faith doomsday scenarios, and later reminds them that the not-yet-hopeless fight for clean water requires a lifelong commitment. In between, he outlines the tolls of irrigation, salinization, and the burning of fossil fuels (leading to acid rain); he discusses the depletion of aquifers, the ruining of the great European rivers--the Elbe, the Danube, and the Rhine, which have become open sewers--and the Everglades, the US's most threatened wetlands. Dolan spells it all out, without making more sordid than necessary the contributions of greed, stupidity, and unrestrained population growth to the damage. Balanced and objective, this is a good overview of an impending global calamity, driven more by statistics and common sense than fear.