The rain may fall upon the just and the unjust alike, but the Mexicans have learned that it does not fall evenly on all parts of the surface of Mother Earth.

The story of Mexico’s agriculture and, directly related, of its food supply, has for the past one-third of a century been the story of the bringing of water to its enormous stretches of parched lands. Two million hectares (one hectare equals 2.471 acres) have been brought under irrigation. Adolfo Orive Alba’s book runs to 292 pages, including seven statistical appendices, profusely illustrated with maps, tables, technical drawings, graphs, and photographs. It presents a panorama that will engross both the specialist and the layman, not only in Mexico but also in those other Latin American countries with a high incidence of drought.

The specialist may well adopt it as a handbook. For the layman it will throw light upon a problem the scope of which he may not have suspected. Few laymen know that, for 63 percent of Mexico’s land, irrigation is indispensable, while only for one per cent is irrigation considered not necessary at all. Mexico’s accomplishments in this field, and the author’s description of them, should enable authorities in other Latin American countries, who are charged with the task of finding a solution for the problem of aridity, to save much of the money and time cost of the trial and error periods through which Mexico has had to pass.

Latin America, in spite of the recent strides toward industrialization in some of its countries, is still an agriculture-based area, especially those parts of it which, like Mexico, support a population predominantly Indian. The alert foreign observer will not tarry long in the hinterland of Mexico without becoming impressed by the degree to which sustenance of its people rests upon corn.

It is evident that Adolfo Orive Alba writes from a long background of study and practice. After a career as a civil engineer in Mexico he won a scholarship to carry on irrigation research in the United States. Returning to his native Mexico, he made its water supply problems his life’s career. In this field he is recognized as an outstanding authority.