Where the Water Goes : Life and Death Along the Colorado River

Where the Water Goes : Life and Death Along the Colorado River

eBook - 2017
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An eye-opening account of where our water comes from and where it all goes.

The Colorado River is an essential 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.

Publisher: Riverhead Books,, 2017
ISBN: 9780698189904
0698189906
Call Number: EBOOK AXIS 360
Characteristics: text file,rda
1 online resource
Additional Contributors: Baker & Taylor Axis 360

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PimaLib_NormS Aug 09, 2017

You know what? Water is way more complicated than I ever imagined. David Owen, in “Where The Water Goes: Life And Death Along The Colorado River”, follows the water of the Colorado River, beginning at the headwaters and ending at the drying up delta in Mexico. Snow melts, the river forms, the water in the river is used by people for a myriad of things, what’s so complicated about it? Here’s an example: A farmer irrigates his fields by flooding them with his legally recognized allotment of Colorado River water. Then he decides that is a wasteful way to use the water, so he installs a sprinkler system, thereby reducing his water usage. Great, right? Well, yes and no. The farmer does save water by using the sprinklers. But, what of his neighbor, whose land benefited from the flood irrigation runoff? The neighbor will have to pump more and more water on to his fields. And, what about the nearby wetlands that would not exist without the runoff? And, if all the farms along the Colorado River reduced their water consumption, wouldn’t the water saved just go to Denver, and Los Angeles, and Phoenix, and Las Vegas, and Tucson, encouraging more urban sprawl, leading to more water use? In this scenario, has anything truly been saved? I’m not advocating for flood irrigation, I’m just saying that the use of water, specifically Colorado River water, is not as simple as it may seem. David Owen explains it so that even I can begin to understand. He learned a lot from his research, and by reading his informative book, I did too.

c
cr421
May 15, 2017

One of the best books I've read recently. David Owens paints an interesting picture of the situation on the Colorado and shows how it's water is committed everywhere in the southwestern US. He gives us much to think about regarding water politics and the directions we're headed in terms of water rights, allocation, and the future. A finely written and thoughtful book will delight you.

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