Customer Review

Reviewed in the United States on September 6, 2015
Absolutely fascinating. I lived in California for some 34 years and had no idea as to the history of how Los Angeles got it's water, other than knowing that a good portion came from the Colorado River. This book is thoroughly researched, and deals not just with California but with the water problems and development of the entire U.S. arid West. I had no idea as to the building of the great (and then not so great) dams starting in the late 20's early 1930s, starting with Hoover Dam. Also fascinating treatment as to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the competition with the Corp. of Engineers, and the Congressional pork barrel system that fueled the building of more and more dams and water projects, necessary or not. AND one wonders what will happen as the dams eventually silt up even as the population of cities such as L.A., Phoenix, Tuscon, Denver increase exponentially, as they have and continue to do. Indeed, when I moved to Calif. in 1970 the state's population was about 19 million; today it is about 38 million, DOUBLE that!! And Southern Calif. is basically an arid or at best a semi-arid desert!! This book was written in the late 1980's\early 1990's; one can only surmise how the author would be talking about the extreme Calif. drought now in it's 4th year. Calif gets much of it's water from 'snow-packs', from the Sierra Nevada to the Rockies (which feed the Colorado River). The CA Governor recently stood on bare ground up in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and said he should be standing on 5 feet of snow!!! Yet, as the author points out (and I observed living in So. Calif.) the only thing grown in So. Calif. is no longer orange groves, but housing developments (usually in my opinion rather noxious with their same tile roofs, and built 10 ft apart). And they are still going up by the droves on every hill and valley!! The ultimate question is where is the water going to come from to support all this, especially with the effects of climate change, now thought to be at least in part responsible for the current extreme drought??? Anyway, fascinating book (not a short read, for sure) and I learned much as to the development of California and the West. It's all about WATER!!! Harvey (p.s.: I now live back East).
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