August is National Water Quality Month to highlight the importance of accessing clean water and the importance of water sources in ecosystems. Below are a few UC Press titles that delve into water issues in the American West and internationally.
The West without Water
What Past Floods, Droughts, and Other Climatic Clues Tell Us about Tomorrow
by B. Lynn Ingram and Frances Malamud-Roam
The West without Water merges climate and paleoclimate research from a wide variety of sources as it introduces readers to key discoveries in cracking the secrets of the region’s climatic past. It demonstrates that extended droughts and catastrophic floods have plagued the West with regularity over the past two millennia and recounts the most disastrous flood in the history of California and the West, which occurred in 1861–62. The authors show that, while the West may have temporarily buffered itself from such harsh climatic swings by creating artificial environments and human landscapes, our modern civilization may be ill-prepared for the future climate changes that are predicted to beset the region. They warn that it is time to face the realities of the past and prepare for a future in which fresh water may be less reliable.
Confronting the Rising Tide of Marine Disease
by Drew Harvell
There is a growing crisis in our oceans as rates of infectious disease outbreaks are on the rise. Marine epidemics have the potential to cause a mass die-off of wildlife from the bottom to the top of the food chain, impacting the health of ocean ecosystems as well as lives on land. Fueled by sewage dumping, unregulated aquaculture, and drifting plastic in warming seas, ocean outbreaks are sentinels of impending global environmental disaster.
Ocean Outbreak follows renowned scientist Drew Harvell and her colleagues as they investigate how four iconic marine animals—corals, abalone, salmon, and starfish—have been devastated by disease. Based on over twenty years of research, this firsthand account of the sometimes creeping, sometimes exploding impact of disease on our ocean’s biodiversity ends with a hopeful message. Through policy changes and the implementation of innovative solutions from nature, we can reduce major outbreaks, save some ocean ecosystems, and protect our fragile environment.
Blood and Water
The Indus River Basin in Modern History
by David Gilmartin
The Indus basin was once an arid pastoral watershed, but by the second half of the twentieth century, it had become one of the world’s most heavily irrigated and populated river basins. Launched under British colonial rule in the nineteenth century, this irrigation project spurred political, social, and environmental transformations that continued after the 1947 creation of the new states of India and Pakistan. In this first large-scale environmental history of the region, David Gilmartin focuses on the changes that occurred in the basin as a result of the implementation of the world’s largest modern integrated irrigation system. This masterful work of scholarship explores how environmental transformation is tied to the creation of communities and nations, focusing on the intersection of politics, statecraft, and the environment.
Rights, Law, and Identity in the American West
by Eric P. Perramond
In the American West, water adjudication lawsuits are adversarial, expensive, and lengthy. Unsettled Waters is the first detailed study of water adjudications in New Mexico. The state envisioned adjudication as a straightforward accounting of water rights as private property. However, adjudication resurfaced tensions and created conflicts among water sovereigns at multiple scales. Based on more than ten years of fieldwork, this book tells a fascinating story of resistance involving communal water cultures, Native rights and cleaved identities, clashing experts, and unintended outcomes. Whether the state can alter adjudications to meet the water demands in the twenty-first century will have serious consequences.
Water and Los Angeles
A Tale of Three Rivers, 1900-1941
by William F. Deverell and Tom Sitton
A free ebook version of this title is available through Luminos, University of California Press’s Open Access publishing program for monographs. Visit www.luminosoa.org to learn more.
Los Angeles rose to significance in the first half of the twentieth century by way of its complex relationship to three rivers: the Los Angeles, the Owens, and the Colorado. The remarkable urban and suburban trajectory of southern California since then cannot be fully understood without reference to the ways in which each of these three river systems came to be connected to the future of the metropolitan region. This history of growth must be understood in full consideration of all three rivers and the challenges and opportunities they presented to those who would come to make Los Angeles a global power. Full of primary sources and original documents, Water and Los Angeles will be of interest to both students of Los Angeles and general readers interested in the origins of the city.
Water and the West
The Colorado River Compact and the Politics of Water in the American West
by Norris Hundley Jr.
Back in print for the first time in over ten years, this classic account of the numerous struggles—national, state, and local—that have occurred over western American water rights since the late 1800s is thoroughly expanded and updated to trace the continuing battles raging over the West’s most valuable, and contentious, resource.
International Water Scarcity and Variability
Managing Resource Use Across Political Boundaries
by Shlomi Dinar and Ariel Dinar
International Water Scarcity and Variability considers international water management challenges created by water scarcity and environmental change. Although media coverage and some scholars tend to cast natural resource shortages as leading inexorably toward armed conflict and war, Shlomi Dinar and Ariel Dinar demonstrate that there are many examples of and mechanisms for more peaceful dispute resolution regarding natural resources, even in the face of water paucity and climate change. The authors base these arguments on both global empirical analyses and case studies. Using numerous examples that focus on North America, Europe, Central Asia, and the Middle East, this book considers strategies and incentives that help lessen conflict and motivate cooperation under scarcity and increased variability of water resources.