America's Water Crisis and What To Do About It
by Robert Glennon
Pub Date 11 May 2009
Deep in the Mojave Desert sits Las Vegas. The desert is a dry, torrid place that can quickly kill a person without water, but in Sin City a torrent of water flows freely in massive fountains, pirate lagoons, wave machines, and casinos. Meanwhile, across the country in places that are not particularly dry or hot, communities, farmers, and factories are struggling to find water, and even running out altogether.
America's self-inflicted water crisis is coming.
In a book that is both frightening and wickedly funny, acclaimed author and expert Robert Glennon has captured the tragedy-and irony-of water in America. From the Vegas Strip to faux snow in Atlanta, from our supersized bathrooms to mega-farms, from billion-dollar water deals to big time politics and personalities, Unquenchable: America's Water Crisis and What to do about It reveals the heady extravagances and everyday waste that are sucking the nation dry.
Our water woes will get worse before they get better because we are slow to change our ways, and because water is the overlooked resource. It's happening again: Washington's love affair with biofuels will turn to heartbreak once America realizes that thousands of gallons of water are required to produce one gallon of fuel. Glennon tells how a celebrated, new ethanol plant in Minnesota-The Land of 10,000 Lakes!-is already sucking local wells dry.
Glennon argues that we cannot engineer our way out of the problem with the usual fixes or the zany-but very real-schemes to tow icebergs from Alaska or divert the Mississippi River to Nevada. America must make hard choices-and Glennon's answer is a provocative market-based system that values water as a commodity and a fundamental human right.
Island Press is proud to take part in bringing Robert Glennon's thought-provoking expose on our water crisis to light. Unquenchable will illustrate the urgency of this problem and the need for action on multiple fronts to solve it.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:Robert Glennon is the Morris K. Udall Professor of Law and Public Policy in the Rogers College of Law at the University of Arizona. He is the author of many articles and books, including the acclaimed Water Follies: Groundwater Pumping and the Fate of America’s Fresh Waters. PRAISE FOR PREVIOUS WORK: "[I]f you want to scare yourself silly, read Water Follies, by Robert Jerome Glennon. In it you'll learn how America is irrigating itself to death — just like the Sumerians — while sucking its groundwater aquifers dry."
— Margaret Atwood, Toronto Globe & Mail
“… a book as rich in detail as it is devastating in its argument.” —Scientific American
"Water Follies deserves a place alongside the late Marc Reisner's classic Cadillac Desert." — Environment
"Glennon offers a dozen examples from around the country, each chapter a gem that moves the story beyond the arcane world of water law, politics, and the physics of centrifugal pumps—and frequently takes it straight to the reader's stomach...But the book is just as much about the search for solutions, and Glennon rounds it out with a battery of thought-provoking suggestions about what we might do differently in the future—instead of just turning to a bigger pump." — High Country News
"His breezy style renders the subject far less arcane and technical than it might sound...[A]n array of informative stories that should contribute to shaking us out of what Glennon calls 'the unlimited human capacity to ignore reality.'" — The Washington Post
“Regardless of one’s political or environmental leanings, this book is a wake-up call that all citizens will ignore at their own risk.” — The Oklahoma Observer
"To … Glennon, the names Perrier and Poland pack a fearful punch, for they and the other huge producers of bottled water are feeding a craze that puts the environment on the brink of disaster." — Publishers Weekly
"… a lively account of hydrology…" —Bill McKibben, New York Review of Books
“The deleterious effects that supersize portions pose to human health have been well documented. Now to the list of obesity, heart disease, and bad skin we can add a new evil: wasted water...Water Follies...shows how each revolution in fry uniformity has come at an ecological cost.” — Mother Jones