"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: 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: 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: Robert Jerome Glennon
Publisher: Island Press
Release Date: 2010-04-19
In the middle of the Mojave Desert, Las Vegas casinos use billions of gallons of water for fountains, pirate lagoons, wave machines, and indoor canals. Meanwhile, the town of Orme, Tennessee, must truck in water from Alabama because it has literally run out. Robert Glennon captures the irony—and tragedy—of America’s water crisis in a book that is both frightening and wickedly comical. From manufactured snow for tourists in Atlanta to trillions of gallons of water flushed down the toilet each year, Unquenchable reveals the heady extravagances and everyday inefficiencies that are sucking the nation dry. The looming catastrophe remains hidden as government diverts supplies from one area to another to keep water flowing from the tap. But sooner rather than later, the shell game has to end. And when it does, shortages will threaten not only the environment, but every aspect of American life: we face shuttered power plants and jobless workers, decimated fi sheries and contaminated drinking water. We can’t engineer our way out of the problem, either with traditional fixes or zany schemes to tow icebergs from Alaska. In fact, new demands for water, particularly the enormous supply needed for ethanol and energy production, will only worsen the crisis. America must make hard choices—and Glennon’s answers are fittingly provocative. He proposes market-based solutions that value water as both a commodity and a fundamental human right. One truth runs throughout Unquenchable: only when we recognize water’s worth will we begin to conserve it.
Author: P. Andrew Jones
Publisher: University Press of Colorado
Release Date: 2009-04-30
Why do people fight about water rights? Who decides how much water can be used by a city or irrigator? Does the federal government get involved in state water issues? Why is water in Colorado so controversial? These questions, and others like them, are addressed in Colorado Water Law for Non-Lawyers. This concise and understandable treatment of the complex web of Colorado water laws is the first book of its kind. Legal issues related to water rights in Colorado first surfaced during the gold mining era in the 1800s and continue to be contentious today with the explosive population growth of the twenty-first century. Drawing on geography and history, the authors explore the flashpoints and water wars that have shaped Colorado’s present system of water allocation and management. They also address how this system, developed in the mid-1800s, is standing up to current tests—including the drought of the past decade and the competing interests for scarce water resources—and predict how it will stand up to new demands in the future. This book will appeal to at students, non-lawyers involved with water issues, and general readers interested in Colorado’s complex water rights law.
Author: Robert Jerome Glennon
Publisher: Island Press
Release Date: 2004-01-14
"...a book as rich in detail as it is devastating in its argument." -SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN "Water Follies deserves a place alongside the late Marc Reisner's classic Cadillac Desert." -ENVIRONMENT "a lively account of hydrology" -NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS "if you want to scare yourself silly, read Water Follies, by Robert Jerome Glennon. In it you'll learn how America is irrigating itself to death-just like the Sumerians-while sucking its groundwater aquifers dry." -TORONTO GLOBE & MAIL "Even if you are not working with water issues, you should read this book for a wider awareness of the depth and importance of groundwater impacts, right down to the bottle of water you are probably drinking right now." -CONSERVATION IN PRACTICE "To law professor Robert Glennon, the names Perrier and Poland pack a fearful punch, for they and the other huge producers of bottled water are feeding a craze that puts the environment on the brink of disaster." -PUBLISHERS WEEKLY The Santa Cruz River that once flowed through Tucson, Arizona is today a sad mirage of a river. Except for brief periods following heavy rainfall, it is bone dry. The cottonwood and willow trees that once lined its banks have died, and the profusion of birds and wildlife recorded by early settlers are nowhere to be seen. The river is dead. What happened? Where did the water go. As Robert Glennon explains in Water Follies, what killed the Santa Cruz River -- and could devastate other surface waters across the United States -- was groundwater pumping. From 1940 to 2000, the volume of water drawn annually from underground aquifers in Tucson jumped more than six-fold, from 50,000 to 330,000 acre-feet per year. And Tucson is hardly an exception -- similar increases in groundwater pumping have occurred across the country and around the world. In a striking collection of stories that bring to life the human and natural consequences of our growing national thirst, Robert Glennon provides an occasionally wry and always fascinating account of groundwater pumping and the environmental problems it causes. Robert Glennon sketches the culture of water use in the United States, explaining how and why we are growing increasingly reliant on groundwater. He uses the examples of the Santa Cruz and San Pedro rivers in Arizona to illustrate the science of hydrology and the legal aspects of water use and conflicts. Following that, he offers a dozen stories -- ranging from Down East Maine to San Antonio's River Walk to Atlanta's burgeoning suburbs -- that clearly illustrate the array of problems caused by groundwater pumping. Each episode poses a conflict of values that reveals the complexity of how and why we use water. These poignant and sometimes perverse tales tell of human foibles including greed, stubbornness, and, especially, the unlimited human capacity to ignore reality. As Robert Glennon explores the folly of our actions and the laws governing them, he suggests common-sense legal and policy reforms that could help avert potentially catastrophic future effects. Water Follies, the first book to focus on the impact of groundwater pumping on the environment, brings this widespread but underappreciated problem to the attention of citizens and communities across America.
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: James Salzman
Publisher: Gerald Duckworth & Co
Release Date: 2013-01-31
Water is something we take for granted; whether from tap or bottle, we rarely think about its source. But its journey to our glasses is more complicated than we realise. With a booming worldwide population, where will our water come from in the future? And is it safe to drink tap water? Is bottled water wasteful? Drinking Water explains the overlooked and surprising history of drinking water - from Biblical conflicts to overpriced mineral water. You will never look at your glass in the same way again.
Author: Charles Bowden
Publisher: University of Texas Press
Release Date: 1977
From the introduction to the new edition: “I’ll tell you where I went wrong. The faucet in the kitchen always becomes the reality we believe, and the periodic droughts, one of which for much of the nineties savaged the West, remain a fantasy. This happens each and every day as the water roars from the faucet and the skies remain dangerously blue.” —Charles Bowden In the quarter-century since his first book, Killing the Hidden Waters, was published in 1977, Charles Bowden has become one of the premier writers on the American environment, rousing a generation of readers to both the wonder and the tragedy of humanity’s relationship with the land. Revisiting his earliest work with a new introduction, “What I Learned Watching the Wells Go Down,” Bowden looks back at his first effort to awaken people to the costs and limits of using natural resources through a simple and obvious example—water. He drives home the point that years of droughts, rationing, and even water wars have done nothing to slake the insatiable consumption of water in the American West. Even more timely now than in 1977, Killing the Hidden Waters remains, in Edward Abbey’s words, “the best all-around summary I’ve read yet, anywhere, of how our greed-driven, ever-expanding urban-industrial empire is consuming, wasting, poisoning, and destroying not only the resource basis of its own existence, but also the vital, sustaining basis of life everywhere.”
Author: Mark Arax
Release Date: 2005-02-16
J.G. Boswell was the biggest farmer in America. He built a secret empire while thumbing his nose at nature, politicians, labor unions and every journalist who ever tried to lift the veil on the ultimate "factory in the fields." The King of California is the previously untold account of how a Georgia slave-owning family migrated to California in the early 1920s,drained one of America 's biggest lakes in an act of incredible hubris and carved out the richest cotton empire in the world. Indeed, the sophistication of Boswell 's agricultural operation -from lab to field to gin - is unrivaled anywhere. Much more than a business story, this is a sweeping social history that details the saga of cotton growers who were chased from the South by the boll weevil and brought their black farmhands to California. It is a gripping read with cameos by a cast of famous characters, from Cecil B. DeMille to Cesar Chavez.
Author: John Walton
Publisher: Univ of California Press
Release Date: 1991-10-23
Western Times and Water Wars chronicles more than a hundred years of tumultuous events in the history of California's Owens Valley. From the pioneer conquest of the native inhabitants to the infamous destruction of the valley's agrarian economy by water-hungry Los Angeles, this legendary setting is a microcosm of the development of the American West.
Author: Steven P. Erie
Publisher: Stanford University Press
Release Date: 2006
Genre: Political Science
Examines the history of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, from its obscure 1920s-era origins, through the Colorado River Aqueduct and State Water Projects, to today's daunting mission of drought management, water quality, environmental stewardship, and post-9/11 supply security. Simultaneous.
A downstream adventure into the heart of one of America’s most important water systems examining where our water comes from and where it all goes The Colorado River is a crucial resource for a surprisingly large part of the United States, and every gallon that flows down it is owned or claimed by someone. David Owen traces all that water from the Colorado's headwaters to its parched terminus, once a verdant wetland but now a million-acre desert. He takes readers on an adventure downriver, along a labyrinth of waterways, reservoirs, power plants, farms, fracking sites, ghost towns, and RV parks, to the spot near the U.S.–Mexico border where the river runs dry. Water problems in the western United States can seem tantalizingly easy to solve: just turn off the fountains at the Bellagio, stop selling hay to China, ban golf, cut down the almond trees, and kill all the lawyers. But a closer look reveals a vast man-made ecosystem that is far more complex and more interesting than the headlines let on. The story Owen tells in Where the Water Goes is crucial to our future: how a patchwork of engineering marvels, byzantine legal agreements, aging infrastructure, and neighborly cooperation enables life to flourish in the desert, and the disastrous consequences we face when any part of this tenuous system fails.