Water Follies: Groundwater Pumping and the Fate of America's Fresh Waters / Edition 1

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<p>Leading landscape architect and planner Carl Steinitz has developed an innovative GIS-based simulation modeling strategy that considers the demographic, economic, physical, and environmental processes of an area and projects the consequences to that area of various land-use planning and management decisions. The results of such projections, and the approach itself, are known as "alternative futures.<p>Alternative Futures for Changing Landscapes presents for the first time in book form a detailed case study of one alternative futures project—an analysis of development and conservation options for the Upper San Pedro River Basin in Arizona and Sonora, Mexico. The area is internationally recognized for its high levels of biodiversity, and like many regions, it is facing increased pressures from nearby population centers, agriculture, and mining interests. Local officials and others planning for the future of the region are seeking to balance the needs of the natural environment with those of local human communities.<p>The book describes how the research team, working with local stakeholders, developed a set of scenarios which encompassed public opinion on the major issues facing the area. They then simulated an array of possible patterns of land uses and assessed the resultant impacts on biodiversity and related environmental factors including vegetation, hydrology, and visual preference. The book gives a comprehensive overview of how the study was conducted, along with descriptions and analysis of the alternative futures that resulted. It includes more than 30 charts and graphs and more than 150 color figures.<p>Scenario-based studies of alternative futures offer communities a powerful tool for making better-informed decisions today, which can help lead to an improved future. Alternative Futures for Changing Landscapes presents an important look at this promising approach and how it works for planners, landscape architects, local officials, and anyone involved with making land use decisions on local and regional scales.
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Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
Glennon (law, U. of Arizona) tells several stories of how groundwater is being pumped from aquifers to generate huge profits by drying up lakes, rivers, and wetlands. Arizona, Florida, Texas, Massachusetts, California, Maine, Minnesota, and Nevada are among the stops. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR
The New York Review of Books
"a lively account of hydrology."
"Water Follies deserves a place alongside the late Marc Reisner's classic Cadillac Desert."
The Globe and Mail
"if 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."
Scientific American
"...a book as rich in detail as it is devastating in its argument."
Conservation in Practice
"Even if you are not working with water issues, you should read this book for a wider awareness of the depth and importance of groundwater impacts, right down to the bottle of water you are probably drinking right now."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781559634007
  • Publisher: Island Press
  • Publication date: 1/1/2004
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 354
  • Sales rank: 1,160,191
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Jerome Glennon is Morris K. Udall Professor of Law and Public Policy at the James E. Rogers College of Law at the University of Arizona.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1 The Worth of Water in the United States 13
2 Human Reliance on Groundwater 23
3 How Does a River Go Dry? 35
4 A River at Risk 51
5 Tampa Bay's Avarice 71
6 The Tourist's Mirage 87
7 Suburban Development and Watershed Initiatives 99
8 A Game of Inches for Endangered Chinook Salmon 113
9 Wild Blueberries and Atlantic Salmon 127
10 Size Does Count, at Least for French Fries 143
11 The Black Mesa Coal Slurry Pipeline 155
12 Is Gold or Water More Precious? 169
13 All's Fair in Love and Water 183
14 The Future of Water 195
15 The Tragedy of Law and the Commons 209
Appendix 225
Glossary 237
List of Acronyms 245
Bibliography 247
Acknowledgments 297
Index 301
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 12, 2012

    Great Book on Important Topic

    In Water Follies, by Robert Glennon, groundwater has its moment in the spotlight. Through several real life case studies and historical stories Glennon gives us an overview of what effect humans have had on groundwater around the world. The overarching theme of his narrative is apparent in the title of the book. Follies by humans have brought the state of groundwater in most populous areas to a breaking point. Each case study presented in the book results in a profound impact on some other, more noticeable, facet of life. In some cases, the more recent ones, the impact is only speculated by environmentalists, but without knowledge and thought into the consequences there could be catastrophic effects in many places.

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  • Posted May 13, 2010

    Solid Book

    Groundwater rights have been a controversial issue for many years. Since water pumping began, the rights of the water have been disputed. This disputation has become increasingly important as people begin to realize just how valuable it is. The balance between human and natural need has been shaken, because of uneven distribution and corporate exploitation of communal resources. Robert Glennon does a great job of explaining these relationships in his book, Water Follies. Glennon takes the readers on a trip around America, showing various misuses of our most precious resource. He satirizes the American way of exploitation at the cost of society, and points out ways that our country should change.
    Glennon has many arguments about the mistreatment of our countries' water resources. One argument is that of water companies pumping enormous amounts of water is having a perverse effect on the environment. To understand this, we must understand that all groundwater is tied together. When the groundwater level is high, it adds water to streams, but when groundwater is low, the streams lose water. This water adds to the groundwater. When a water company begins pumping water out of the ground, it lowers the water table, which causes rivers and streams to lose their water. When this happens, the bodies of water change. These different conditions make it difficult for animals to survive because they depend on the water environment for their home. If the changes are too drastic, the animal population threatened will suffer and may be forced to relocate.
    Glennon also rips into the fact that water companies take groundwater, which is basically a public resource, and pumps huge quantities of it. This causes many problems for the population. The same water that city utilities sell for a fraction of a penny per gallon is sold by private water companies for $4.50-$7.50 per gallon. Another problem arises when the huge amount of pumping causes the water table to drop, eventually below the current well depths. This means that private homeowners, who use an incredibly small amount of water compared to the water companies, have to foot the bill to drill a deeper well. Another problem that comes along with the dropping water table is the subsidence of the ground. Without the water to support it, the ground collapses upon itself, causing cracking of buildings, roads, and infrastructure. The government does not have a good way of regulating water use, which makes it very easy for companies to take much more than their fair share and get away with it.
    The author is an advocate of water reform in America. He brings up a lot of very good points and issues that need to be addressed. Glennon does a good job of explaining that everything is interconnected, a concept that a lot of people do not understand. This entire book summarizes many of the problems that we have with water. He places a lot of emphasis on things needing to change, but does it in a way that makes it seem obvious. Glennon also does a good job of adding a hopeful spin to his message, which can come across as a bit ominous. He leaves the reader with some steps that can be taken to help fix this problem that we have. This book was a solid, interesting, down to earth read that everyone should take a good look at.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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