Blue Future

Protecting Water for People and the Planet Forever

From the internationally acclaimed environmentalist, a powerful, penetrating, and timely look at the looming global water crisis—and what we can do to prevent it

“The coming grab for the planet’s dwindling resources is the defining issue of our time. Water is not a resource put here for our convenience, pleasure and profit but the source of all life. It is urgent that we clarify the values and principles needed to protect the planet’s fresh water.” —from Blue Future

In her bestselling books Blue Gold and Blue Covenant, world-renowned water activist Maude Barlow exposed the battle for ownership of our dwindling water supply and the emergence of an international, grassroots-led movement to reclaim water as a public good. Since then, the United Nations has recognized access to water as a basic human right—but there is still much work to be done to stem this growing crisis.

In this major new book, Barlow draws on her extensive experience and insight to lay out a set of key principles that show the way forward to what she calls a “water-secure and water-just world.” Not only does she reveal the powerful players even now impeding the recognition of the human right to water, she argues that water must not become a commodity to be bought and sold on the open market. Focusing on solutions, she includes stories of struggle and resistance from marginalized communities, as well as government policies that work for both people and the planet.

At a time when climate change has moved to the top of the national agenda and when the stage is being set for unprecedented drought, mass starvation, and the migration of millions of refugees in search of water, Blue Future is an urgent call to preserve our most valuable resource for generations to come.


“The world’s leading water warrior has issued a call to arms and a road map to transform our economies and priorities to protect our most precious resource—water. The book is an explosive rethinking of our future that could save the planet.”
—John Cavanagh, director, Institute for Policy Studies
“We are water—it inflates our cells, dissolves nutrients, transports materials, and enables metabolism. Once again, Maude Barlow delivers an urgent warning that we are treating this priceless liquid in ways that are unjust, unhealthy, unsustainable, and suicidal.”
—David Suzuki, scientist, environmentalist, and broadcaster
“Maude Barlow is a force of nature. Blue Future is the inspiring climax of her visionary trilogy on the world water crisis. With the world teetering on the brink of a devastating water crisis, humanity urgently needs the vision, wisdom, and solutions in Blue Future.”
—David R. Boyd, author of The Environmental Rights Revolution
Blue Future offers yet another clarion call to action. [Barlow] challenges all citizens to embrace water as a public trust. We owe much to Maude Barlow, a great Canadian and a leading global voice for public water.”
—Paul Moist, national president, Canadian Union of Public Employees
“Passionate, encyclopedic, prophetic, hopeful—no one knows the planet’s water better than Maude Barlow. And nowhere has she set out the world’s water crisis more starkly than in Blue Future.”
—Alanna Mitchell, author of Sea Sick
“If you read one book this year, make it Blue Future! Brilliant, compelling, and optimistic, it’s the seminal work on averting the world water crisis. Barlow’s enthralling account of the water justice movement’s remarkable progress brought tears, and her road map for the future gives me hope.”
—Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch and author of Foodopoly
“In a book as clear as a pristine mountain stream, Maude Barlow lays out a practical and inspiring vision for how we can defend water—the source of all life—from the forces of death. For decades Barlow has been on the front lines of this critical battle, and her insights on how water can serve as our guide to a more just, sustainable world are a gift to us all.”
—Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine
“Maude Barlow first establishes water as a human right, and then takes us through the titanic struggle, country by country, to make that right come alive. It’s jolting, compelling, astonishingly comprehensive, and beautifully organized. No one but Maude could have written this tour de force.”
—Stephen Lewis, author of Race Against Time
Blue Future is by far the most up-to-date treatise on threats to the world’s dwindling freshwater supply. The scenario [Barlow] presents is scary. . . . Fortunately, she also proposes what must be done to prevent the corporate control of water. An extremely powerful book.”
—David Schindler, professor of ecology, University of Alberta

News and Reviews

The Huffington Post

Huff Post Green blog reviews Blue Future


Slate includes Blue Future in a round-up of "new science and technology books that are changing the way we see our world"

Books by Maude Barlow

Blue Gold
The Fight to Stop the Corporate Theft of the World’s Water

Maude Barlow, Tony Clarke

Blue Covenant
The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water

Maude Barlow

Goodreads Reviews