Water Follies: Groundwater Pumping and the Fate of America's Fresh Waters

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Island Press, Jan 14, 2004 - Nature - 314 pages
5 Reviews
"...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.
  

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Review: Water Follies: Groundwater Pumping and the Fate of America's Fresh Waters

User Review  - Kirstin - Goodreads

Seminal book on the topic--makes groundwater science understandable and relevant to the Layman. Read full review

Review: Water Follies: Groundwater Pumping and the Fate of America's Fresh Waters

User Review  - Tom Emanuel - Goodreads

Ever wondered where your water comes from? Robert Glennon takes readers inside the labyrinthine, frustrating, sometimes positively scary world of American water wars from Arizona to Maine, showing how ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
The Worth of Water in the United States
13
z Human Reliance on Groundwater
23
How Does a River Go Dry?
35
A River at Risk
51
Tampa Bays Avarice
71
The Tourists Mirage
87
Suburban Development and Watershed
99
Wild Blueberries and Atlantic Salmon
127
Size Does Count at Least for French Fries
143
The Black Mesa Coal Slurry Pipeline
155
n Is Gold or Water More Precious?
169
i3 Alls Fair in Love and Water
183
The Future of Water
195
The Tragedy of Law and the Commons
209
Copyright

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About the author (2004)

Robert Jerome Glennon is Morris K. Udall Professor of Law and Public Policy at the James E. Rogers College of Law at the University of Arizona.

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