Picador has pre-empted an investigation into water stress, billed as "the next big climate crisis", by environmental journalist Tim Smedley.
Publishing director Georgina Morley acquired world rights for The Last Drop: Solving the World’s Water Crisis from Jenny Hewson at Lutyens & Rubinstein for publication in spring 2022.
According to the synopsis: “Water stress – not just scarcity, but also water-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. Fourteen of the world’s 20 megacities are now experiencing water scarcity or drought conditions. It’s increasingly clear that human mismanagement of water is dangerously unsustainable, for both the ecology and human survival. And yet in recent years some key countries have been quietly and very successfully addressing water stress.”
The book sees Smedley travel the world to meet experts, victims, activists and pioneers, finding out how how we can mend the water table that our survival depends upon.
He said: “I’m so happy to have the backing of Picador and George Morley to draw attention to this vitally important topic. Our climate is becoming drier and the demands on water are becoming ever greater. This book will, I hope, fundamentally change our relationship with water before it’s too late.”
Smedley has written extensively for the Guardian, BBC, Sunday Times and Financial Times. His debut Clearing the Air (Bloomsbury Sigma), about the global effects of air pollution, was published in March 2019 and was shortlisted for the Royal Society Science Book Prize.
Morley said: “As we live our lives as best we can during the terrible Covid-19 pandemic, focusing on the vital need to conserve the world’s water might seem too big a subject to grasp. Happily, Tim Smedley’s calm, intelligent and ultimately hopeful look at this aspect of climate crisis offers readers both a comprehensive account of how well-prepared some countries already are and the lessons we can take from them. And not just at a global and a national level; there are things we can all do to help and Tim’s book shows us what they are. We’re delighted to welcome him to Picador.”