Shortlisted for the 2016 Donner Prize for Best Public Policy Book by a Canadian

Shortlisted for the Evelyn Richardson Prize for Non-Fiction


Visit the In Development page for details.

Reviews for Back to the Well:

“This book will ruffle some feathers as well as open some minds, but for anyone who cares about the earth’s most precious resource, it is worth the read.” — Publisher’s Weekly (2015-11-19)

“Having laid out a discouraging list of the world’s water-related problems, de Villiers does not fail to put forward some solutions. In fact, since there are so many different water-related crises, each with its own challenges, he offers a large toolbox of solutions.” — Winnipeg Free Press (2015-10-21)

“Marq de Villiers’s latest book on water, Back to the Well, is an impressive survey from the brink of water wars, failures, and crises, culminating in a forceful prescription for a sustainable water future. The soft path of demand-side management, at the heart of Green strategies, is a hopeful and practical direction.” — Elizabeth May, OC, MP, Leader of the Green Party of Canada (2015-09-01)

“Marq de Villiers is an expert guide to the vast and contentious terrain of water management, and in Back to the Well he steers skilfully past ideological excess and careless hyperbole to provide a clear and thorough account of the state of the planet’s water today. This is a provocative and engagingly written book that strikes a welcome balance between hard-eyed truth and buoyant optimism.” — Chris Turner, author of The Leap and The War on Science (2015-09-01)

Amazon Readers Write:

By “Turning Point” on Dec 16 2015

Back to the Well reveals the rapidly increasing threats to clean water around our planet. Mr. de Villiers provides accurate information, a global perspective, and suggests practical actions we should take to meet these threats. He invites us to think big and think small at the same time. Bread may be the staff of life but without potable water we’ll choke on it.

Back to the Well poses important questions such as who owns water—and who ought to? How should we balance the “soft path” approach (water management to reduce demand) with the “hard path” (dams, reservoirs, pipelines treatment plants, high-end technology, and the like)?

It may have been Mark Twain who said, “Whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting over.” Mr. de Villiers tells us who is already fighting and—with 1.5 billion people without access to safe water—who will be. More frequent “water wars” may be avoided if Back to the Well motivates readers to join the growing legion of activists who refuse to accept the status quo.

Politicians who are “climate change deniers” also have their heads buried in the ever-expanding sand with respect to water problems. They may not read this book—but the rest of us should.

Excellent Read
By “Lisa Turner” on Dec 21 2015

Marq de Villiers’s conversational writing style makes Back to the Well a pleasure to read. At the same time, its contents make your brain buzz. He never rehashes the obvious, gnashes his teeth in despair, or suggests unattainable panaceas. After suggesting many practical solutions, his summation is that we need to be smarter in our policies, spend as much as we have to, and play much better together.

Mr. de Villiers is also the author of Water: The Fate of Our Most Precious Resource in which he analyzed the quantity and quality of the world water supply. Like Back to the Well, it is a must read.