People’s Water: A Practical Guide to Taking Back Our Waters

Betsy Damon is excited to announce that her new book, People’s Water, is well underway. The book is being praised by Jane Goodall as “a toolkit that intends to empower everyone to take steps to understand their waters and organize to protect and restore their waters.” Damon’s book is ambitious in its scope: from putting water molecules under a microscope, to examining lessons learned from a lifetime of water activism from the Yangtze to the Ohio River, Damon leaves no stone unturned in empowering diverse communities to take back control of their waters.

People’s Water invites the reader to know their waters and take charge of their right to water. Its underlying themes are community, cooperation and collaboration. Its message is that we can leverage our interdependence on each other to create a sustainable, resilient future.

This important book will surely stimulate many projects. Thank you, Betsy, for all the love and hard work that has gone into creating this most important book.
— Jane Goodall
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Water must be the foundation of planning and design.

Damon spells out ways to center society around water, invoking her projects such as the Living Water Garden.

And though People’s Water takes us to faraway places, the lessons Damon brings to the table always strike close to home. Damon explores water’s universality. Since life itself is impossible without water, Damon proposes certain maxims about humankind’s relationship to water. Chief among these is that water must be the foundation of planning and design. Damon spells out the practical implementations of centering society around water, invoking her projects such as the Living Water Garden in Chengdu, China, as well the Living Waters of Larimer, a project in Pittsburgh that demonstrates how green infrastructure can be artfully integrated into the urban spaces.

People’s Water is as accessible as it is practical: it includes dozens of engaging illustrations, making key concepts all the more memorable. The book is intended for a diverse audience: from schoolchildren learning the basics of civic life to seasoned activists, from DIY enthusiasts interested in personal water projects to amateur scientists, People’s Water is written so that anyone can learn from it. It is a textbook, a primer, and a source of inspiration to even the most experienced activists. People's Water contains an A-Z on how to get to know your waters, organize around them, and restore resilience and complexity.

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People’s Water is as accessible as it is practical.

It includes dozens of engaging illustrations, making key concepts all the more memorable.

Water has taught Damon resilience and the power of collective vision. With People's Water, Damon shares her confidence in us. Because water is the essential driver of everything in our lives, Damon’s book examines water’s sheer magnitude of importance.

People’s Water has been endorsed by:

  • Jane Goodall

  • Diana Beresford-Kroeger, author of The Global Forest and Arboretum Borealis: A Lifeline of the Planet

  • Christine Filippone, author of Science, Technology, and Utopias: Women Artists and Cold War America

  • R. Eugene Turner, Louisiana State University, Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences

  • Dr. Tang Ya, Professor & Chair of the College of Architecture and Environment, Sichuan University

  • Anja Claus, Curator & Editor, Ideas of Humans and Nature, Center for Humans and Nature.


Currently, Damon is in the process of selecting a publisher. For updates on People’s Water, sign up for our mailing list.

Marmot Mcmahon