In his preface, N. F. Gray quotes from the European Union's Water Framework Directive: "Water is not a commercial product like any other but, rather, a heritage which must be protected, defended and treated as such." This attitude is championed throughout the text.
The book is written for an interdisciplinary audience and is an introductory text directed at undergraduates, but it would serve as a starting point for anyone new to the field or for practitioners requiring a fresh view.
Gray covers the points where humans impact on the hydrological cycle and follows water from the resources we exploit, through treatment and distribution, to the collection and treatment of wastewater. At each stage there is a focus on the physical, chemical and biological quality/pollution aspects, perhaps at the expense of the process technology itself. The exception is the extensive coverage given to the biological components of wastewater treatment.
This second edition builds strongly on the first, but it has been restructured, making the content more accessible and logically arranged. A valuable section on the Water Framework Directive has been added, as has a closing chapter on "Sustainable principles in water management".
Unfortunately, the latter might have been better as the starting point, signalling its importance in the book's content.
The preface also states that an extensive website supports the text. For a limited number of topics, this website does provide access to additional resources, but sadly it cannot be described as "extensive".
Peter Hedges is senior lecturer in the built environment, Aston University.
Water Technology: An Introduction for Environmental Scientists and Engineers. Second edition
Author - Gray Butterworth
Publisher - Heinemann
Pages - 645
Price - £29.99
ISBN - 0 7506 6633 1