December 10, 2008

Reading list: Water in California and the arid West

Presenting a list of books about water, in California and the West, because it has been a dry winter (rain is predicted this weekend). But first, an excerpt, from "Bay Cities and Water Politics" by Sarah S. Elkind. The bay cities referenced are Boston, Massachusetts and Oakland, California.

Oakland city officilas had little influence over water service because individuals and private companies claimed East Bay water resources long before the city was ready to build a public waterworks. Boston faced no such barriers because Massachusetts law reserved Great Ponds for public use. Simple abundance did contribute to generous provision for public water rights in Massachusetts. Pre-nineteenth-century legal traditions intended to protect common uses of streams, however, did even more to protect public interests. By the mid-nineteenth century, the demands of industrial development placed enormous strains on public or common water rights even in Massachusetts; California was settled in the midst of this new emphasis on private rights; in Oakland, private development and ownership of natural resources held sway (1998, 32).
  • Rivers of Empire: Water, Aridity, and the Growth of the American West - Donald Worster
  • Water and Power: The Conflict Over Los Angeles’ Water Supply in the Owens Valley - William L. Kahrl
  • From the Family Farm to Agribusiness: The Irrigation Crusade in California and the West, 1850-1931 - Donald J. Pisani
  • A Life of Its Own: The Politics and Power of Water - Robert Gottlieb
  • Land, Water and Power: A History of the Turlock Irrigation District, 1887-1987 - Alan M. Paterson
  • Western Times and Water Wars: State, Culture, and Rebellion in California - John Walton
  • The River Stops Here: How One Man’s Battle to Save His Valley Changed the Fate of California - Ted Simon
  • Rivers in the Desert: William Mulholland and the Inventing of Los Angeles - Margaret Leslie Davis
  • The Great Thirst: Californians and Water, 1770s-1990s - Norris Hundley, Jr.
  • The Los Angeles River: Its Life, Death, and Possible Rebirth - Blake Gumprecht
  • Hazardous Metropolis : Flooding and Urban Ecology in Los Angeles - Jared Orsi
  • Water and the California Dream: Choices for the New Millennium - David Carle
  • William Mulholland and the Rise of Los Angeles - Catherine Mulholland
  • Cadillac Desert:The American West and Its Disappearing Water - Marc Reisner (Los Angeles Times obituary)
  • Water and the West: The Colorado River Compact and the Politics of Water in the American West - Norris Hundley, Jr.
  • A River No More: The Colorado River and the West - Philip L. Fradkin

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