The Last Drop

Tim Smedley

16 May 2024
416 pages


The Times Book of the Year pick

‘Smart, sobering, and scholarly. ’ – Steve Brusatte, the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Rise and Fall of Dinosaurs

A gripping, thought-provoking and ultimately optimistic investigation into the world’s next great climate crisis – the scarcity of water.

Water scarcity is the next big climate crisis. Water stress – not just scarcity, but also quality issues caused by pollution – is already driving the first waves of climate refugees. Rivers are drying out before they meet the oceans and ancient lakes are disappearing. It’s increasingly clear that human mismanagement of water is dangerously unsustainable, for both ecological and human survival. And yet in recent years some key countries have been quietly and very successfully addressing water stress.

How are Singapore and Israel, for example – both severely water-stressed countries – not in the same predicament as Chennai or California?

In The Last Drop, award-winning environmental journalist Tim Smedley meets experts, victims, activists and pioneers to find out how we can mend the water table that our survival depends upon. He offers a fascinating, universally relevant account of the environmental and human factors that have led us to this point, and suggests practical ways to address the crisis, before it’s too late.

Smart, sobering, and scholarly. Tim Smedley explores the science and politics behind our current water crisis, and with cautious optimism looks ahead for solutions that can save us from a catastrophe that could rival the great upheavals and extinctions of Earth history.
Tim Smedley’s sometimes angry, always informed book is a smouldering indictment of the self-inflicted water wounds we’re causing ourselves and our planet.
This book is clear, fascinating and horrifying, but also offers workable solutions that can save us all from the worst. You will never see the water you use in the same way again.