Cadillac Desert has ratings and reviews. In Cadillac Desert Marc Reisner writes of the earliest settlers, lured by the promise of paradise, and of the . “The definitive work on the West’s water crisis.” –Newsweek The story of the American West is the story of a relentless quest for a precious resource. Marc Reisner has written a tome on water rights in the American West with his book “Cadillac Desert: The American West and its disappearing Read full.

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Inwhen Mark Reisner published his book Caeillac DesertI had just begun professing on water management. Cadillac Desert fell in the tradition of Muddy WatersDams and other DisastersRivers of Empireand Water and Powerall written by giants in the field critical of Western water development, but was much better written and marketed though less scholarly and the time was ripe for publication of such a cadilllac, popular work.

The era of large dam and water projects in the US had clearly ended, and needed a punctuation mark. Mark Reisner provided an exclamation mark. Although these ideas were not new to well-read scholars, they were timely, well-written, and influential.

Federal and State agencies no longer drive major water project construction. The additional water deliveries from new major dam or canal projects are typically small and expensive.

The cheapest sites with the most capacity to deliver water already have water projects.

Remaining potential reservoir sites are usually much less cost-effective. The economic and political drivers of Western water also have changed in fundamental ways. The West is wealthier and much less agricultural. Environmental laws and regulations now greatly hinder the development of new projects, and impinge on the operation of existing projects. There is now great uncertainty and concern for the ability to preserve native aquatic species. Federal and state budgets no carillac have substantial funds available for large water infrastructure projects anyway.

There remains little political appetite to fund large federal and state water projects. Floyd Dominy Image source: Federal and State water agencies have become financially and intellectually impoverished and, tragically, have substantially lost most of their sense of mission.

Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water

Without a strong sense of mission, they often become mired in internal procedures and policies — and suffer greatly reduced effectiveness. So where is Western Water going? And where should we as professionals and interests work to make it go?

What should we teach students, the public, and policy-makers about Relsner water as it moves well beyond Cadillac Desert?

Cadillac Desert

Cadillac Desert is now a bit dated in its lessons for the present and future water management and policy in the American West. What should we be preparing for? Water in the west will continue to be important and controversial.

Modern urban economies need relatively little water to produce vast amounts of economic wealth.

Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water – Marc Reisner – Google Books

Per capita urban water use continues to fall substantially, and can probably continue to do so for several decades. Agricultural shifts to higher valued permanent crops, particularly vines and orchards, make farmers more interested in water reliability than total quantity.

Climate change will become more important, bringing more attention to variability and likely contraction of supplies and shifts in demands. It will be hard to know how to change major water infrastructure for a warmer, more variable, and perhaps drier climate.

Larger reservoirs, while useful, might not be the most cost-effective solutions. Local and regional water agencies have become increasingly important, and have been more successful at escaping the calcification of state and federal bureaucracies. Cost-effective contemporary water innovations are largely in water conservation, water markets, conjunctive use of ground and surface waters, wastewater reuse, and other actions which are more appropriately and effectively led and financed at local levels.

Most modern water systems are built around carefully crafted portfolios of water supply and demand management activities involving local, regional, and larger actions, users, and management agencies. State and federal agencies are most important in establishing legal and regulatory frameworks for local agencies and users to cooperate, as well as federal and state agencies continuing to run Dominy-era water supply projects.

Although individuals remain important, the success of adaptive water management portfolios over local, regional, statewide, and inter-state scales relies increasingly on networks of people. It is hard and slow to organize a group of people distributed among many agencies and interests, but an effective csdillac of ideas across such a network can be effective and powerful.

Water management has always relied substantially on the development of informal networks of experts across agencies, interests, and academia to lead progress and support the development of effective legal and institutional frameworks.

Water problems and solutions for the American West continue to change. The region is a dry place, with a highly variable and probably increasingly variable climate, that supports a growing population and economy.

Three dewert recent books give some options and optimism for improving water dezert in the West Lund et al. These all point to the importance of moving beyond the large projects of the Dominy era and the pessimism of Cadillac Desert.

They all point out that despite the inevitability of water problems in the dry Western US, substantial prosperity and relative ecological success can occur with thoughtful and cooperative management. Excessive focus on conflict, and not the benefits of cooperation, is the surest recipe for failure.

Fleck, JohnWater is for Fighting Over: Kahrl, WilliamWater and Power: Reisner, MarcCadillac Desert: Worster, DonaldRivers of Empire: I finished Cadillac Desert yesterday, great timing!

I loved the book, and found it fesert enlightening. I hope that we can speed up the the public and political desire to reverse some of the ecological damage done.

Wastewater treatment companies are coming up with some great products that could help both urban and agricultural users reuse most of our wastewater. CA is an amazing and diverse place that has maintained its beauty despite a few hundred years of rapid resource depletion. Luckily, if you give nature a small change, it will find a way to thrive. Thank you for the revisit of Cadillac Desert and your thoughts of its importance in the ongoing conversation about water in the West.

I started my career as a banker in the Southern Central Valley just after the book came out and spent many years lending to farmers and the farm economy. There is enough water to support uses that generate economic growth with less water. Uses that require more water are becoming uneconomical within the constraints of the current supply. Cotton, sugar beets and wheat has given way to grapes, pistachios and the infamous almond.

The challenge will be developing water systems which are appropriate to the direction that society chooses to take, a direction which can only be discerned through political dialog. How do we maximize groundwater recharge without harming orchards or other agriculture?

Where should university water-related research be aimed, to be most helpful in lighting the path to a desirable Calif. I have been trying to get my hands on a copy of the documentary Cadillac Desert. It appears to only be available on VHS, and all of the libraries that I have visited say they have it, but it is not on the shelf where t should be.

Any advice on how to get a copy to watch? We need Felicia to come through for us and make the WaterFix giant tunnels infeasible. I suppose reflections on a desert—Cadillac or otherwise—could qualify as a mirage, and the book in some ways was like that for me.

That is, it was a teaser of a tale, but it often distorted civil engineering, analogies, and just plain old-fashioned facts. And what about the odd omission of the once-and-future battle for Hetch Hetchy, of which you are so very familiar?

Cadillac Desert was published in notand the far better Rivers of Empire innot Good catch on Cadillac Desert origin date.

Reflections on Cadillac Desert | California WaterBlog

Found a date for Rivers of Empire that is erroneous. We hold our convenient truths to be self-evident — Dangerous ideas in California water California WaterBlog. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account.

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Cadillac Desert, by Marc Reisner. July 9, at 8: Excellent recap and reflection on the future of water use. July 10, at 7: I have a question says: July 10, at July 11, at 8: July 11, at 2: July 11, at 4: July 19, at 3: There are some points of light. August 3, at 8: July 14, at 4: Leave a Comment moderated Cancel reply Enter your comment here Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Email required Address never made public.

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