Interview: Alexander Bell, author of Peak Water: Civilisation and the World's Water Crisis

Edinburgh's water tastes crisp and clean. Turn on a tap and pipes gurgle, sucking up water from up to 50 miles away from the Lothians and Borders. Yet, throughout the world, water pipes are running dry and people are going thirsty.

Peak Water: Civilisation and the World's Water Crisis by Alexander Bell is published by Luath Press, priced 16.99

This is called 'peak water,' or as Edinburgh author, Alexander Bell, describes it, "the coming issue of our age".

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Bell, a journalist who lives in the city centre, has spent the last five years investigating the world's water crisis. In his new book, Peak Water: Civilisation and the World's Water Crisis, he explains how India, China and South Africa are all running out of water. Even British holiday hotspots like Spain and Greece may soon find the well becomes dry.

"We have used more water in some places than nature can replenish," states Bell. The former BBC reporter draws parallel with the issue of 'peak oil' yet he asserts that running out of water is far more series than running out of oil: "Cities will stop, farms will dry up and economies will fall. Little wonder why people think the next big war will be over water."

Yet surely with frequent downpours, disappointing summers and verdant landscapes Scotland is safe? Bell says no: the water crisis will affect us all.

"This may seem like a far-away problem, but the food in our shops and the clothes on our backs all rely on water supplies in hot countries. If the water runs out, we'll be eating nothing but potatoes and dressing in wool and tweeds."

But Bell, 44, who is also the founder of media website, remains optimistic. "Scots are generous people who care about the world. We need to wake up to the water crisis and do what we can to help. We also need to find ways of making money out of our own water. We might be sitting on the equivalent of a huge oil well with our lochs and rivers, which could make us rich"

Covering the history, social and religious conflict over water, Peak Water: Civilisation and the World's Water Crisis is the first title to exclusively discuss the world's next global disaster.

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As Bell says: "This is a worldwide concern. We all have a part to play."

The Edinburgh book launch is at Blackwells on South Bridge on 14 October 2009 at 6:30pm, all welcome. RSVP [email protected]