Author: Marc Reisner, Genre: Technology & Engineering, Total Page: 672, Publisher: Penguin, ISBN: 9781440672828

"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. This edition includes a new postscript by Lawrie Mott, a former staff scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council, that updates Western water issues over the last two decades, including the long-term impact of climate change and how the region can prepare for the future.

Author: Marc Reisner, Genre: Technology & Engineering, Total Page: 612, Publisher: Penguin, ISBN: 0140178244

"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. This edition includes a new postscript by Lawrie Mott, a former staff scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council, that updates Western water issues over the last two decades, including the long-term impact of climate change and how the region can prepare for the future.

Author: Marc Reisner, Genre: Nature, Total Page: 236, Publisher: Island Press, ISBN: 0933280769

Focuses on the value of water in the west, with brief overview of the history of dams and wild life, the law and water allocation for both use and waste, and ways to modernize water management.

Author: Marc Reisner, Genre: History, Total Page: 208, Publisher: Penguin Books, ISBN: 0142003832

Writing with a signature command of his subject and with compelling resonance, Marc Reisner leads us through California’s improbable rise from a largely desert land to the most populated state in the nation, fueled by an economic engine more productive than all of Africa. Reisner believes that the success of this last great desert civilization hinges on California’s denial of its own inescapable fate: Both the Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay areas sit astride two of the most violently seismic zones on the planet. The earthquakes that have already rocked California were, according to Reisner, a mere prologue to a future cataclysm that will result in immense destruction. Concluding with a hypothetical but chillingly realistic description of what such a disaster would look like, A Dangerous Place mixes science, history, and cultural commentary in a haunting work of profound importance.

Author: David Owen, Genre: Science, Total Page: 288, Publisher: Penguin, ISBN: 9780698189904

“Wonderfully written…Mr. Owen writes about water, but in these polarized times the lessons he shares spill into other arenas. The world of water rights and wrongs along the Colorado River offers hope for other problems.” —Wall Street Journal 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.

Author: Heather Hansman, Genre: Nature, Total Page: 232, Publisher: University of Chicago Press, ISBN: 9780226819976

The Green River, the most significant tributary of the Colorado River, runs 730 miles from the glaciers of Wyoming to the desert canyons of Utah. Providing water for thirty-three million people, it flows through ranches, cities, national parks, and some of the most significant natural gas fields in the country. Stopped up by dams, slaked off by irrigation, and dried up by cities, the Green is crucial, overused, and at risk, now more than ever. Fights over the river's water, and what's going to happen to it in the future, are long-standing, intractable, and only getting worse as the West gets hotter and drier and more people depend on the river with each passing year. Former raft guide and environmental reporter Heather Hansman knew the issues but felt driven to see the situation firsthand and from a different perspective - from the river itself. So she set out on a journey, in a one-person inflatable pack raft and with an open mind, and see what the experience might teach her. Mixing lyrical accounts of quiet paddling through breathtaking beauty with nights spent camping solo and lively discussions with farmers, city officials, and other people met along the way, Downriver is the story of that journey, a foray into the present-and future- of water in the West. --

Author: Margaret Leslie Davis, Genre: History, Total Page: 268, Publisher: Open Road Media, ISBN: 9781497613775

The rise and fall of William Mulholland, and the story of L.A.’s disastrous dam collapse: “A dramatic saga of ambition, politics, money and betrayal” (Los Angeles Daily News). Rivers in the Desert 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. This “fascinating history” 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 (Newsweek). 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. “An arresting biography of William Mulholland, the visionary Los Angeles Water Department engineer . . . [his] personal and public dramas make for gripping reading.” —Publishers Weekly “A fascinating look at the political maneuvering and engineering marvels that moved the City of Angels into the first rank of American cities.” —Booklist

Author: Donald Worster, Genre: Business & Economics, Total Page: 624, Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA, ISBN: 0195078063

When Henry David Thoreau went for his daily walk, he would consult his instincts on which direction to follow. More often than not his inner compass pointed west or southwest. The future lies that way to me, he explained, and the earth seems more unexhausted and richer on that side. In his own imaginative way, Thoreau was imitating the countless young pioneers, prospectors, and entrepreneurs who were zealously following Horace Greeley's famous advice to go west. Yet while the epic chapter in American history opened by these adventurous men and women is filled with stories of frontier hardship, we rarely think of one of their greatest problems--the lack of water resources. And the same difficulty that made life so troublesome for early settlers remains one of the most pressing concerns in the western states of the late-twentieth century. The American West, blessed with an abundance of earth and sky but cursed with a scarcity of life's most fundamental need, has long dreamed of harnessing all its rivers to produce unlimited wealth and power. In Rivers of Empire, award-winning historian Donald Worster tells the story of this dream and its outcome. He shows how, beginning in the mid-nineteenth century, Mormons were the first attempting to make that dream a reality, damming and diverting rivers to irrigate their land. He follows this intriguing history through the 1930s, when the federal government built hundreds of dams on every major western river, thereby laying the foundation for the cities and farms, money and power of today's West. Yet while these cities have become paradigms of modern American urban centers, and the farms successful high-tech enterprises, Worster reminds us that the costs have been extremely high. Along with the wealth has come massive ecological damage, a redistribution of power to bureaucratic and economic elites, and a class conflict still on the upswing. As a result, the future of this hydraulic West is increasingly uncertain, as water continues to be a scarce resource, inadequate to the demand, and declining in quality. Rivers of Empire represents a radically new vision of the American West and its historical significance. Showing how ecological change is inextricably intertwined with social evolution, and reevaluating the old mythic and celebratory approach to the development of the West, Worster offers the most probing, critical analysis of the region to date. He shows how the vast region encompassing our western states, while founded essentially as colonies, have since become the true seat of the American Empire. How this imperial West rose out of desert, how it altered the course of nature there, and what it has meant for Thoreau's (and our own) mythic search for freedom and the American Dream, are the central themes of this eloquent and thought-provoking story--a story that begins and ends with water.

Author: Charles Fishman, Genre: Business & Economics, Total Page: 418, Publisher: Simon and Schuster, ISBN: 9781439102084

Explores every facet of water and examines the issues surrounding water scarcity and what can be done to ensure that humans have plenty of clean water in the future. By the best-selling author of The Wal-Mart Effect. Reprint.

Author: John Fleck, Genre: Nature, Total Page: 264, Publisher: Island Press, ISBN: 9781610916790

"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.