Dam Nation: How Water Shaped the West and Will Determine Its Future

Dam Nation: How Water Shaped the West and Will Determine Its Future

by Stephen Grace

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In the scramble to claim water rights in the West during the fevered days of early emigration and expansion, running out of water was rarely a concern, and the dam building fever that transformed the West in the 19th and 20th centuries created a map of the region that may be unsustainable. Throughout the arid American West, metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles, Phoenix, Las Vegas and Denver need water. These cities are growing, but water supplies are dwindling. Scientists agree that the West is heating up and drying out, leading to future water shortages that will pose a challenge to existing laws. Dam Nation looks first to the past, to the stories of the California gold rush and the earliest attempts by men to shape the landscape and tame it, takes us to the "Great American Desert" and the settlement of the west under the theory that "rain follows the plow," and then takes on the ongoing legal and moral battles in the West. Author Stephen Grace, is a novelist, a storyteller, and the author of several non-fiction books on Colorado. He weaves the facts into a compelling narrative that informs, entertains, and tells an important story.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780762787623
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 05/07/2013
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 360
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.70(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Stephen Grace's employment has ranged from deckhand on Mississippi riverboats to neuropsychological research assistant to whitewater rafting guide. For the past several years he has worked as a travel industry professional designing and leading trips on five continents. A resident of Colorado, he spends his free time exploring its mountains and rivers.

Read an Excerpt

Dam Nation

How Water Shaped the West and Will Determine Its Future
By Stephen Grace

Globe Pequot

Copyright © 2012 Stephen Grace
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780762770656

"Mention water to a Westerner whose great-grandparents homesteaded a patch of land as dry as a legal brief and listen to the stories flow. Water might not seem like a big deal to someone from a state that sloshes with rain, but people whose ancestors settled this water-shy region know that the West was won not by men on horseback with six-shooters hanging from their holsters, not by sheriffs with stars of tin pinned upon their chests and guns blazing in high noon shootouts. It was won by farmers and ranchers with irrigation shovels in hand—and by politicians and lawyers divvying up water rights in a dry land."
—From the Introduction


Excerpted from Dam Nation by Stephen Grace Copyright © 2012 by Stephen Grace. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Author's Note vi

Introduction: Trouble xi

Chapter 1 Into the Parched Frontier 1

Chapter 2 Settling the Great American Desert 17

Chapter 3 Reclamation 41

Chapter 4 The Law of the River 66

Chapter 5 Dam Nation 75

Chapter 6 What We Have Lost 97

Chapter 7 When Dams Fall 130

Chapter 8 The Wealth Below 161

Chapter 9 The New Normal 171

Chapter 10 Tainted Waters 180

Chapter 11 Silt, Salt, and Civilization 193

Chapter 12 Water in the Twenty-First-Century West 202

Epilogue: A Brief History of Water's Future 260

Acknowledgments 275

Sources 277

Index 322

About the Author 335

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