Spray a cooling rack with nonstick spray and set it in a half sheet pan lined with parchment.
Peel the ginger root(use the back of a spoon, it gets into all the grooves) and slice into 1/8-inch thick slices using a mandoline. Place into a 4-quart saucepan with the water and set over medium-high heat. Cover and cook for 35 minutes or until the ginger is tender.
Transfer the ginger to a colander to drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid. Weigh the ginger and measure out an equal amount of sugar. Return the ginger and 1/4 cup water to the pan and add the sugar. Set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until the sugar syrup looks dry, has almost evaporated and begins to recrystallize, approximately 20-40 minutes. Make sure you continously stir. It may feel like you've been stirring the ginger forever, but when it starts to crystallize, it will happen very quickly.
Transfer the ginger immediately to the cooling rack and spread to separate the individual pieces. Once completely cool, store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Save the sugar that drops beneath the cooling rack and use to top ginger snaps, sprinkled over ice cream or to sweeten coffee.
Any liquid can be used to flavor tea or used for hot tea. Some people said they had to cook it longer. It's worth every minute. :).