1. The human sponge -- 2. North America : crossing the Rio Grande -- 3. Riding the water cycle -- 4. Pakistan : the unhappy valley -- 5. India : a colossal anarchy -- 6. Halliburton's job for Qaddafi -- 7. The world's largest mass poisoning -- 8. Mirages -- 9. The common wealth -- 10. Lake Chad : tragedy of the floodplains -- 11. Seas of death -- 12. Mekong : feel of the pulse -- 13. China : the hanging river -- 14. Changing climate -- 15. Wonders of the world -- 16. Sun, silt, and stagnant ponds -- 17. Dams that cause floods -- 18. Palestine : poisoning the wells of peace -- 19. The first modern water war -- 20. Swords of Damocles -- 21. Elisha's spring and the mysteries of Angkor -- 22. Losing the west -- 23. Aral sea : the end of the world -- 24. Taking the water to the people -- 25. Sewage on tap -- 26. Closed basins and closed minds -- 27. Out of thin air -- 28. Catch the rain -- 29. On the grapevine -- 30. Unfailing springs -- 31. Learning to love the floods -- 32. Freeing Saddam's captives -- 33. More crop per drop -- 34. Water ethics. It was with the Colorado River that engineers first learned to control great rivers. But now the Colorado"s reservoirs are two-thirds empty. Great rivers like the Indus and the Nile, the Rio Grande and the Yellow River are running on empty. And economists say that by 2025, water scarcity will cut global food production by more than the current U.S. grain harvest. Veteran science correspondent Fred Pearce traveled to more than thirty countries while researching When the Rivers Run Dry; it is our most complete portrait yet of the growing world water crisis. Deftly weaving together the complicated scientific, economic, and historical dimensions of the crisis, he shows us its complex origins, from waste to wrong-headed engineering projects to high-yield crop varieties that have kept developing countries from starvation but are now emptying their water reserves. And Pearce"s vivid reportage reveals the personal stories behind failing rivers, barren fields, desertification, water wars, floods, and even the death of cultures. Finally, Pearce argues that the solution to the growing worldwide water shortage is not more and bigger dams but greater efficiency and a new water ethic based on managing the water cycle for maximum social benefit rather than narrow self-interest.