Steve's Reviews > Introduction to Water in California

Introduction to Water in California by David Carle
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's review
Jan 07, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: the-natural-world
Read in January, 2008

I am not a hydrologist, or a 'professional' environmentalist; I'm just a layperson who likes to know how the world works.

This book has roughly 3 parts, outlining the physical hydrology of California (where water would go if we left it alone), the engineered hydrology (where water goes now because we move it), and the challenges of California water management in the 21st century.

The first two parts are very descriptive and very interesting, partially because they just describe the world as it is (or was). The third part is the weakest part of the book, partially because it describes ongoing history (the narrative cuts off in late 2002, and there were a lot of issues that were left hanging), and partially because it has a bit of a feel of a harangue -- focusing on ways that individual consumers can save a gallon or two (which, keep in mind, means millions of gallons in the aggregate) while ignoring many ways that non-urban users can save water (agriculture isn't the most efficient user of water, partially because it is so cheap, and agriculture is one of the biggest water users in the state). A big omission that I was hoping for (on a detailed note) is that the author implies that salination of the ground due to irrigation -- the downfall of many historic civilizations in the Middle East, and a growing problem in California -- can be dealt with but he never says why.

But the first two parts are great.
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Veronica California produces 25% of the nation's food. California leads the nation in the production of over 45 crops. IF you like eating, you should be thankful food prices are reasonable - crops need abundant water to maintain health and flourish. Our farmers are very water savvy. They have had reductions in water supply due to politics. Be thankful our farmers continue to stay on the farm, take the risks, lobby politicians, and keep working to provide us with food produced in the USA.

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