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Articles by Steven Solomon

Steven Solomon is author of WATER: The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power, and Civilization, and a veteran economic journalist who has written for The New York Times, The Economist, Business Week, Esquire, and The Independent (UK). His website is

Featured Article

MilwaukeePhoto: Jeramey Jannene

Blog Action Day is an annual event held every October 15 that unites the world’s bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day with the aim of sparking a global discussion and driving collective action. This year’s topic is water.

For most of history, cities have been unsanitary human death traps, unable to provide the two to three quarts of wholesome freshwater each of us must drink daily to stay alive or the minimum four to five gallons — roughly the equivalent of three to four modern toilet flushes — needed for the most elemental cooking, washing, and hygiene. Urban populations normally restocked only by net influx from impoverished countrysides. Water-borne diseases like dysentery, diarrhea, cholera, typhoid, malaria, and yellow fever have been, far and away, mankind’s deadliest killers.

Cheap, abundant freshwater and good sanitation was one of the key, often forgotten enablers of the demographic transformation that so dramatically increased human population size, longevity, and urban concentration. In 1800, only 2.5 percent of the world’s people lived in cities. Today itR... Read more

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  • Water and the War on Terror

    While leaders in Washington have been war-gaming the national security risks of climate change, they’ve only started to connect the dots to the closely related threats emanating from the growing crisis of global freshwater scarcity. At first blush, water and national security may not seem to be interlinked. But the reality, as narrated in my […]