Summary of Where the Water Goes

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Where the Water Goes book summary
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Rating

9 Overall

9 Importance

8 Innovation

9 Style


Recommendation

New Yorker staff writer David Owen’s treatise on water use in the Western United States reflects the treatment of fresh water sources all over the developed world. Owen puts a human face on competing water interests, revealing the nuanced complexity that so often surrounds resource allocation. He doesn’t identify good or bad guys – just thirsty people, thirsty crops and a lot of dead fish. getAbstract recommends Owen’s startling history of the Colorado River to policy makers, environmentalists, and all those who washed their face or brushed their teeth this morning.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How hydrologists’ faulty forecasts in the 1920s produced the US Western states’ flawed water management system,
  • Why attempts to conserve water often produce counterintuitive environmental effects and
  • What states could do to meet a growing population’s need for water.
 

About the Author

New Yorker staff writer David Owen also wrote Green Metropolis: What the City Can Teach the Country About True Sustainability and The Conundrum: How Scientific Innovation, Increased Efficiency, and Good Intentions Can Make Our Energy and Climate Problems Worse.

 

Summary

The Colorado River

Today, the Colorado River and its tributaries irrigate six million acres of farmland, provide power for two hydroelectric plants and support recreational activities worth $26 billion a year. The water quenches the thirst of 36 million people in Boulder, Denver and Colorado Springs, Colorado; Salt Lake City, Utah; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Las Vegas, Nevada; Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona; and San Diego and Los Angeles, California.


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