"The definitive work on the West's water crisis." --Newsweek The story of the American West is the story of a relentless quest for a precious resource: water. It is a tale of rivers diverted and dammed, of political corruption and intrigue, of billion-dollar battles over water rights, of ecological and economic disaster. In his landmark book, Cadillac Desert, Marc Reisner writes of the earliest settlers, lured by the promise of paradise, and of the ruthless tactics employed by Los Angeles politicians and business interests to ensure the city's growth. He documents the bitter rivalry between two government giants, the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in the competition to transform the West. Based on more than a decade of research, Cadillac Desert is a stunning expose and a dramatic, intriguing history of the creation of an Eden--an Eden that may only be a mirage. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Author: Norris Hundley
Publisher: Univ of California Press
Release Date: 2009
Back in print for the first time in over ten years, this classic account of the numerous struggles--national, state, and local--that have occurred over western American water rights since the late 1800s is thoroughly expanded and updated to trace the continuing battles raging over the West's most valuable, and contentious, resource.
Author: Stephen Grace
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
Release Date: 2013-05-07
Genre: Social Science
In the scramble to claim water rights in the West during the fevered days of early emigration and expansion, running out of water was rarely a concern, and the dam building fever that transformed the West in the 19th and 20th centuries created a map of the region that may be unsustainable. Throughout the arid American West, metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles, Phoenix, Las Vegas and Denver need water. These cities are growing, but water supplies are dwindling. Scientists agree that the West is heating up and drying out, leading to future water shortages that will pose a challenge to existing laws. Dam Nation looks first to the past, to the stories of the California gold rush and the earliest attempts by men to shape the landscape and tame it, takes us to the “Great American Desert” and the settlement of the west under the theory that "rain follows the plow," and then takes on the ongoing legal and moral battles in the West. Author Stephen Grace, is a novelist, a storyteller, and the author of several non-fiction books on Colorado. He weaves the facts into a compelling narrative that informs, entertains, and tells an important story.
Author: David Carle
Publisher: Univ of California Press
Release Date: 2015-12-15
This thoroughly engaging, concise book tells the story of California's most precious resource, tracing the journey of water in the state from the atmosphere to the snowpack to our faucets and foods. Along the way, we learn much about California itself as the book describes its rivers, lakes, wetlands, dams, and aqueducts and discusses the role of water in agriculture, the environment, and politics. Essential reading in a state facing the future with an overextended water supply, this fascinating book shows that, for all Californians, every drop counts. New to this updated edition: * Additional maps, figures, and photos * Expanded coverage of potential impacts to precipitation, snowpack, and water supply from climate change * Updated information about the struggle for water management and potential solutions * New content about sustainable groundwater use and regulation, desalination, water recycling, stormwater capture, and current proposals for water storage and diversion *Additional table summarizing water sources for 360 California cities and towns
Author: Marc Reisner
Publisher: Penguin Group USA
Release Date: 2004
Traces the history of California from a largely desert area to a region that has become the most populated state in the country in spite of water supply problems and the certainty of devastating earthquakes. Reprint.
Author: Margaret Leslie Davis
Publisher: Open Road Media
Release Date: 2014-04-01
Rivers in the Desert is the quintessential American story. It follows the remarkable career of William Mulholland, the visionary who engineered the rise of Los Angeles as the greatest American city west of the Mississippi. He sought to transform the sparse and barren desert into an inhabitable environment by designing the longest aqueduct in the Western Hemisphere, bringing water from the mountains to support a large city. Davis chronicles Mulholland’s dramatic ascension to wealth and fame, followed by his tragic downfall after the sudden collapse of the dam he had constructed to safeguard the water supply. The disaster, which killed at least five hundred people, caused his repudiation by allies, friends, and a previously adoring community. Epic in scope, Rivers in the Desert chronicles the history of Los Angeles and examines the tragic fate of the man who rescued it.
Author: William L. Kahrl
Publisher: Univ of California Press
Release Date: 1983-11-08
It is not the purpose of this work to propose a specific format for the settlement of the city's current difficulties with the valley, to resolve the environmental questions associated with Los Angeles's proposed groundwater pumping program, or to promote any cause associated with the developing situation in the Owens Valley. But by performing the essential historical task of separating what happened from what did not, and by distinguishing in this way the choices which have been made from those which have yet to be decided, it is my hope that this effort will help to establish that common basis for understanding which is essential for the debate over specific issues to proceed most effectively. This book, then, is scarcely the last word on the Owens Valley conflict: the final chapter, after all, has yet to be written. The story that has emerged here is at once very different and more troubling than the conventional treatments of the conflict as a simplistic political morality play. Any attempt to deal with so controversial a subject, however, is almost certain to spark controversy itself. For that reason, with the exception of a small collection of private letters, this work is constructed entirely from the published documents and other materials available to the general public, anchoring the narrative in sources the reader can consult to trace the line of my argument on any point with which he or she may disagree. In addition, the work as a whole has been reviewed for technical accuracy by officials of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, although the department is in no way responsible for the content of this study or the conclusions drawn from it.
From the “dean of Western writers” (The New York Times) and the Pulitzer Prize winning–author of Angle of Repose and Crossing to Safety, a fascinating look at the old American West and the man who prophetically warned against the dangers of settling it In Beyond the Hundredth Meridian, Wallace Stegner recounts the sucesses and frustrations of John Wesley Powell, the distinguished ethnologist and geologist who explored the Colorado River, the Grand Canyon, and the homeland of Indian tribes of the American Southwest. A prophet without honor who had a profound understanding of the American West, Powell warned long ago of the dangers economic exploitation would pose to the West and spent a good deal of his life overcoming Washington politics in getting his message across. Only now, we may recognize just how accurate a prophet he was.
Author: John Fleck
Publisher: Island Press
Release Date: 2016-09
"Illuminating." --New York Times WIRED's Required Science Reading 2016 When we think of water in the West, we think of conflict and crisis. Yet despite decades of headlines warning of mega-droughts, the death of agriculture, and the collapse of cities, the Colorado River basin has thrived in the face of water scarcity. John Fleck shows how western communities, whether farmers and city-dwellers or U.S. environmentalists and Mexican water managers, actually have a promising record of conservation and cooperation. Rather than perpetuate the myth "Whiskey's for drinkin', water's for fightin' over," Fleck urges readers to embrace a new, more optimistic narrative--a future where the Colorado continues to flow.
Author: Paul Roberts
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Release Date: 2009-05-06
Genre: Business & Economics
Paul Roberts, the best-selling author of The End of Oil, turns his attention to the modern food economy and finds that the system entrusted to meet our most basic need is failing. In this carefully researched, vivid narrative, Roberts lays out the stark economic realities behind modern food and shows how our system of making, marketing, and moving what we eat is growing less and less compatible with the billions of consumers that system was built to serve. At the heart of The End of Food is a grim paradox: the rise of large-scale food production, though it generates more food more cheaply than at any time in history, has reached a point of dangerously diminishing returns. Our high-volume factory systems are creating new risks for food-borne illness, from E. coli to avian flu. Our high-yield crops and livestock generate grain, vegetables, and meat of declining nutritional quality. While nearly one billion people worldwide are overweight or obese, the same number of people—one in every seven of us—can’t get enough to eat. In some of the hardest-hit regions, such as sub-Saharan Africa, the lack of a single nutrient, vitamin A, has left more than five million children permanently blind. Meanwhile, the shift to heavily mechanized, chemically intensive farming has so compromised soil and water that it’s unclear how long such output can be maintained. And just as we’ve begun to understand the limits of our abundance, the burgeoning economies of Asia, with their rising middle classes, are adopting Western-style, meat-heavy diets, putting new demands on global food supplies. Comprehensive in scope and full of fresh insights, The End of Food presents a lucid, stark vision of the future. It is a call for us to make crucial decisions to help us survive the demise of food production as we know it. Paul Roberts is the author of The End of Oil, which was a finalist for the New York Public Library's Helen Bernstein Book Award in 2005. He has written about resource economics and politics for numerous publications, including the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, Harper’s Magazine, and Rolling Stone, and lectures frequently on business and environmental issues.
Author: Daniel P. Loucks
Release Date: 2017-03-02
Genre: Technology & Engineering
This book is open access under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license. This revised, updated textbook presents a systems approach to the planning, management, and operation of water resources infrastructure in the environment. Previously published in 2005 by UNESCO and Deltares (Delft Hydraulics at the time), this new edition, written again with contributions from Jery R. Stedinger, Jozef P. M. Dijkman, and Monique T. Villars, is aimed equally at students and professionals. It introduces readers to the concept of viewing issues involving water resources as a system of multiple interacting components and scales. It offers guidelines for initiating and carrying out water resource system planning and management projects. It introduces alternative optimization, simulation, and statistical methods useful for project identification, design, siting, operation and evaluation and for studying post-planning issues. The authors cover both basin-wide and urban water issues and present ways of identifying and evaluating alternatives for addressing multiple-purpose and multi-objective water quantity and quality management challenges. Reinforced with cases studies, exercises, and media supplements throughout, the text is ideal for upper-level undergraduate and graduate courses in water resource planning and management as well as for practicing planners and engineers in the field.