Global Water Crisis Captured in Darkly Comedic Memoir

Environmental crisis, post-Soviet dysfunction, international intrigue, Silk Road history and an unsolved murder – this darkly comic true-crime memoir reads like a novel and is packed with disturbing details about the world’s misuse of water.

Berkeley, CA (PRWEB) March 28, 2005 -- By 2025 world demand for water is expected to outstrip supply by 56 percent. In the United States, the world's leader in water consumption, the reckless use of water is depleting rivers, lakes and aquifers. In Texas, it is the new oil. The Ogallala Aquifer – which is in South Dakota, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico – is being tapped and its water is being sold to the highest bidder. Nowhere on the planet is the situation so dire as in Central Asia, where the Aral Sea is now 20% of its 1960s’ size and experts are predicting its complete disappearance by 2020.

Communications officer Rob Ferguson took part in a $250 million project funded by the World Bank to save the Aral Sea. A year later, the project had achieved next to nothing and Ferguson was a prime suspect for the murder of his former secretary. He recounts his experience with a storyteller's eye for detail and a sharp sense of humor in The Devil and the Disappearing Sea: Or, How I Tried to Stop the World’s Worst Ecological Catastrophe (ISNB 1-55192-737-3, $15.95 pb, May).

This tragic-comic tale is driven by people who have been compared to characters in Evelyn Waugh and Carl Hiassen stories. In an advance review, Outpost wrote, “A weird, entertaining, and informative amalgam of a book: part memoir, part ecological nightmare, part satire, part absurdist noir. . . Ferguson finds himself in one bizarre scenario after another, always with his wit intact.”

In a starred review, Publishers Weekly writes, "His wry account of a turbulent year clearly articulates the tragic consequences of what he now deems inevitable failure—millions of acres of arable land reduced to poisoned, salty plains—with skilled reporting and detail-rich writing."

As a whole, Devil and the Disappearing Sea gives readers an understanding of Central Asian politics, ancient tribal and religious tensions, and contemporary battles for natural resources – all of which are playing themselves out on today's global stage.

Rob Ferguson has worked as a communications specialist on international projects in Vanuatu, Mongolia and Central Asia for organizations as varied as the World Bank, the United Nations Development Program, the BBC, UNESCO, the Soros Foundation and the Worldwide Fund for Nature. He lives in Toronto, Canada and travels extensively. This is his first book.

The Devil and the Disappearing Sea:
Or, How I Tried to Stop the World’s Worst Ecological Catastrophe
By Rob Ferguson
6 x 9, 270 pp

Trade paper
$15.95, 1-55192-737-3

Also available in cloth
$24.95, 1-55192-599-0

Publication date:
May 2005

For interviews or more information, please contact Emiko Morita
at 604-323-7120 or e-mail protected from spam bots.

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