City of Water

City of Water

By Andrea Curtis, illustrated by Katy Dockrill. Published by Groundwood Books.

★ TOP 10 books on sustainability, ALA Sustainability Roundtable 

★ Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection


illustration copyright Katy Dockrill
Illustration by Katy Dockrill

It’s easy to forget about the importance of water if you live in a city where it flows from the faucet with a flick of the wrist …

City of Water, the second book in the ThinkCities series, shines a light on the urban water system. It traces the journey of water from faraway lakes and rivers through pipes and treatment facilities, into our taps, fire hydrants and toilets, then out through storm and sewer systems toward wastewater treatment plants and back into the watershed.

Along the way we explore water systems past and present. We look at the need to protect our watersheds and preserve groundwater. We learn about the drastic effects of drought, and what happens when the water flowing from people’s taps isn’t clean or safe. And we discover how cities around the world are coping with extreme weather and flooding.

In this book, gorgeously illustrated by Katy Dockrill, readers are encouraged to think about water as a precious, finite resource. Includes a glossary and a list of fifteen practical steps kids and their families can take to help conserve water.

Want to know more about how working on this book inspired me to explore my city’s ravines and water systems? Read my short essay from The Globe and Mail.

For Grades 3-7
Also available as an ebook.

Second in the new ThinkCities series from Groundwood Books

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City of Water is a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection!

“This non-fiction picture book makes clear that water conservation is essential through mind-boggling and fascinating facts about how water moves from the forests, mountains, lakes, and rivers into our homes and back out again.” — Quill & Quire

“Insightful STEM offering.”—Booklist

“It’s difficult to forget water’s importance after reading these gentle, informative pages…. Educational and stylish.”—Kirkus

More reviews →

Buy this book

City of Water is available wherever good books are sold. Visit your local independent bookstore or order it at these online retailers. It’s also available as an ebook.

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About Katy Dockrill

Katy Dockrill is a Toronto illustrator with a passion for line. An honours graduate from the Ontario College of Art and Design, she brings the simplest drawings to life with her fresh, cheerful and playfully detailed brush-and-ink work, a style her international and local clients expect and love. When not sketching, you may find her biking, swimming, reading or gardening. She shares a creative home with her husband, daughter and a tabby named Kitty. You can read a fun  conversation between Katy and me at OpenBook.

Learning resources

City of Water includes tons of ideas about how you and your class or family can help preserve our water. I’ve also put together kid-friendly resources to keep young people engaged in conservation of this precious resource. Water is life. Jump in!

Learn more →

Did you know?

  • Our bodies are about 60% water.
  • Nearly three-quarters of the earth is covered by water, though much of it is in the ocean and undrinkable.
  • Less than 1 percent of our planet’s water is fresh and readily accessible to us.
  • More than two billion people around the world do not have access to safe, fresh water at home.
  • About 90% of the watersheds that provide water for the world’s largest cities have been polluted or degraded over the last century.
  • A bottle of water costs up to 2,000 times more than the same amount of water coming from a tap. It requires 2,000 times more energy to produce and uses more water in the production process than an average bottle can actually hold!<
  • Canada’s rivers and lakes contain 7% of the world’s total renewable freshwater.
  • The average Canadian uses about 58 gallons (220 l) of water at home every day — that’s about 700 glasses’ worth! In the US, the number is even higher, at 88 gallons (333 l) per day.
  • A pipe with a hole the size of a small pea will lose more than 8,454 gallons (32,000 l) of water a day. That’s enough to fill 320 bathtubs!
  • Urban sewer streams are about 99% water and less than 1% waste — things like food, toilet paper and poop.
  • Drinking water keeps our brains healthy and our energy levels high.
  • Hearing the sound of water bubbling and burbling can boost a person’s mood and reduce stress.

Learn more →

About ThinkCities

The ThinkCities series is inspired by the urgency for new approaches to city life as a result of climate change, population growth and increased density. It highlights the challenges and risks cities face, but also offers hope for building resilience, sustainability and quality of life as young people act as advocates for themselves and their communities.

Coming soon: City Streets are for People, illustrated by Emma FitzGerald, spring 2022