Water is for Fighting Over: and Other Myths about Water in the West

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Island Press, Sep 1, 2016 - Nature - 264 pages
When we think of water in the West, we think of conflict and crisis. In recyears, newspaper headlines have screamed,"Scarce water and the death of California farms,” "The Dust Bowl returns,” "A ‘megadrought' will grip U.S. in thecoming decades.” Yet similar stories have been appearing for decades and the taps continue to flow. John Fleck arguesthat the talk of impending doom is not only untrue, but dangerous. When people get scared, they fight for the last drop ofwater; but when they actually have less, they use less.

Having covered environmental issues in the West for a quarter century, Fleck would be the last writer to discount theserious problems posed by a dwindling Colorado River. But in that time, Fleck has also seen people in the Colorado RiverBasin come together, conserve, and share the water that is available. Western communities, whether farmers and city-dwellers or US environmentalists and Mexican water managers, have a promising record of cooperation, a recordoften obscured by the crisis narrative.

In this fresh take on western water, Fleck brings to light the true history of collaboration and examines the bondscurrently being forged to solve the Basin's mdire threats. 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.
 

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Contents

Chapter 1 Rejoining the Sea
1
Chapter 2 Water Squandered on a Cow
13
Chapter 3 Fountains in the Desert
31
Chapter 4 Negotiating the Rapids
53
Chapter 5 Arizonas Worst Enemy
65
Chapter 6 Averting Tragedy
87
Chapter 7 Turning Off LAs Tap
105
Chapter 8 So Cal Cuts Back
119
Chapter 10 Emptying Lake Mead
145
Chapter 11 Whos Left Out?
161
Chapter 12 A Beaver Returns to the Delta
175
Chapter 13 Conclusion
189
Notes
203
Bibliography
219
Index
239
IP Board of Directors
247

Chapter 9 The Great Fallowing
129

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About the author (2016)

John Fleck is director of the University of New Mexico's Water Resources Program. For 25 years, he covered science and the environmfor the Albuquerque Journal. He is author of The Tree Rings' Tale, a children's book about the climate of the West.

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