Life of Its Own: The Politics and Power of Water in California

Overview

Is water a natural resource, or is it a commodity, to be sold for industrial, residential, and agricultural use? In the arid American West, this question is crucial, because water-or lack of it-affects every aspect of life.
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Overview

Is water a natural resource, or is it a commodity, to be sold for industrial, residential, and agricultural use? In the arid American West, this question is crucial, because water-or lack of it-affects every aspect of life.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Concern and disputes over water have shifted from control of quantity to control of its quality, explains Gottlieb, member of the Metropolitan Water Board of Southern California and coauthor of Empires in the Sun , in a revealing study of the private water industry and public agencies that play a crucial role in economics and politics. The author analyzes how policies effect crop selection, production, labor and land values along with abuses created by vast new government-subsidized irrigation systems. While agriculture and growing urban centers competed for water and power resources, the pollution by sewage, pesticides and industrial contaminants of surface and ground water in urban and rural areas that endangers them both gave rise in the 1970s to a powerful environmental movement that opposes Army Engineers Corps projects, over-exploitation of river systems such as the Colorado, and supports clean water laws to regulate water systems taken over by municipalities from private companies. The results of ongoing debates between private profit and public interest groups over the future of water policy, Gottlieb stresses, will largely determine our environmental priorities. (October)
Library Journal
Gottlieb, an historian/journalist and member of the Metropolitan Water Board of Southern California, describes how water agencies have relied on economic rather than public health objectives in managing water. His ``insider-outsider'' perspective provides important insights into the causes of current problems. But times have changed, according to Gottlieb: cost sharing, increased system efficiency, privatization, and protection of environmental values will be important in future water policy. More than other recent analyses, Gottlieb's work relates the evolution of water policy to changing social and cultural perspectives in America. Highly recommended. James R. Karr, Virginia Tech . , Blacksburg
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780151951901
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 10/30/1988
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Pages: 350

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