Nina Selbst joined the Water Commission, the government department responsible for the development and management of Israel’s water resources at the beginning of the 1960s, as a junior economist. She retired three decades later as economic adviser to the Water Commissioner and head of the Commission’s Economic Bureau. During those formative years for the young state she had the privilege of sharing in the work of an amazingly original, daring and creative team—of engineers and hydrologists, agronomists and farmers, scientists and policy makers— that transformed the face of the country, made the desert bloom and developed new and efficient methods of irrigation that brought great blessings at home and worldwide. Towards the latter end of the period she also shared in the growing awareness of the price of success and the beginnings of the search for solutions to emerging problems of salinization and pollution.
On retirement, still fascinated by water, she devoted her time to exploring its complex interactions with the human species. This book is a product of that activity and a report on the kaleidoscopic panorama that she discovered.