Water in the American West – Demand-Side Management

I wrote about Cadillac Desert, the classic book about water in the American West, in September.  Scores of millions of people depend on the waterworks that were built up over the 20th Century there, and many millions more benefit from the bounty of fruits and vegetables that grow there, much of it in California, where agriculture accounts for 80% of overall use.  The story of Cadillac Desert, though, is that there has been a tremendous price paid for all that concrete, steel, energy, and the treasure needed to build and operate the waterworks.  Environmental destruction has been catastrophic, lives were lost when dams broke, thousands of small farmers and their communities were destituted because the water too often benefited Big Ag, and the American taxpayer was bilked out of billions over time. Continue reading

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