• The Big Thirst

  • The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water
  • By: Charles Fishman
  • Narrated by: Stephen Hoye
  • Length: 13 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 12-04-11
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio
  • 4 out of 5 stars 4.2 (9 ratings)


The water coming out of your tap is four billion years old and might have been slurped by a Tyrannosaurus Rex. We will always have exactly as much water on Earth as we have ever had. Water cannot be destroyed, and it can always be made clean enough for drinking again. In fact, water can be made so clean that it actually becomes toxic. As Charles Fishman brings vibrantly to life in this delightful narrative excursion, water runs our world in a host of awe-inspiring ways, which is both the promise and the peril of our unexplored connections to it.
Taking listeners from the wet moons of Saturn to the water-obsessed hotels of Las Vegas, and from a rice farm in the Australian outback to a glimpse into giant vats of soup at Campbell's largest factory, he reveals that our relationship to water is conflicted and irrational, neglected and mismanaged. Whether we will face a water scarcity crisis has little to do with water and everything to do with how we think about water - how we use it, connect with it, and understand it.
Portraying and explaining both the dangers - in 2008, Atlanta came just 90 days from running completely out of drinking water - and the opportunities, such as advances in rainwater harvesting and businesses that are making huge breakthroughs in water productivity, The Big Thirst will forever change the way we think about water, our crucial relationship to it, and the creativity we can bring to ensuring we always have plenty of it.
©2011 Charles Fishman (P)2011 Tantor
Show More Show Less

Critic reviews

"A timely warning about the dwindling global water supply." ( Kirkus)
Show More Show Less

Regular price: £19.69

Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – choose any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • Free, unlimited access to Audio Shows
  • After your trial, Audible is just £7.99/month
Select or Add a new payment method

Buy Now with 1 Credit

By completing your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Privacy Notice.

Buy Now for £19.69

Pay using card ending in
By completing your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Privacy Notice.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Alastair on 11-12-11

informed, interesting and provoking

I was not sure if this book was going to be dry in the opening chapter but quickly developed a thirst for more. Each chapter is extremely informative yet entertaining to read(listen). The written style is kept concise and translates well into an audiobook. It is clear this book has been researched and strands from case studies are intermingled making it easy to remember what came previously if listening in instalments. I work in the water industry and learned much from this book. I am likely to refer to examples and anecdotes in conversation in the future. A very enjoyable and thought provoking book. Thank you.

Read more Hide me

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Steve Richards on 15-01-17

Interesting but poetic

An interesting analysis of Water though there is a tendency to ramble and use poetic language. It did however provide an decent overview of Water in the US, Australia and India.

Read more Hide me
See all reviews

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Lynn on 21-04-11

Informative Book

Charles Fishnman, also the author of The Wal-Mart Effect, has returned with a book on water. It is a look at water through history, its use over the last 100 years, and the current issues involving its distribution. BUT WAIT, there is more, don't touch that dial...Fishman brings the reader up to speed on the current water enviornment. This is an interesting book that will be enjoyed by a broad section of the reading public. Fishman is informative, the book is well written and issues are covered in a thoughtful way. Of particular help, is Fishman's extensive descriptions of cities and towns around the world and how they are dealing with water supply. I came away from the volume with my eyes opened to the problems we face and the opportunities that are apparent. The reading of Stephen Hoye is excellent.

Read more Hide me

20 of 20 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Paul on 13-05-11

Mandatory listening for EVERYONE

This is a superb book and one that should be required reading for every human being. Instead of reading some of the drivel (classics) in high school, kids should read about the single most important element in life, water. There is something enigmatic about our attitude about water. Our attitude about water is something akin to the old song line, "you only really appreciate something when you lose it". This book is not a polemic or screaming about yet another crisis. Although water is becoming a crisis, his point is educational. He talks about every aspect of water. I especially like the parts in which he described the chemistry and physical uniqueness of water. One fact about water that absolutely blew me away: Every molecule of water that is on the Earth has been here since its formation. We neither add nor subtract water. It just gets moved around. We are so spoiled regarding water in the US especially in the part in which I live. He points out the confusion in our minds about water. The author compares our 24/7 water accessibility with the supply in India. In most Indian communities, even the wealthy ones, water is only available one or two hours a day. In some parts of India, an entire day is consumed (mainly by school aged girls) walking to a distant water supply and carrying it back on their heads. For us, water is virtually free and we waste it with impunity. People complain about a dollar a month increase in the cost of water supply while they remain silent about a 10% cable TV charge. Is it really necessary to flush our solid waste with purified, chemically treated potable water? Suffice it to say that after reading this book, my head was straightened out and I now turn off the water when brushing my teeth. The book is very well written and Charles Fishman does a great job, as always. This book gets my vote for Science book of the year.

Read more Hide me

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

See all reviews