Where the water goes : life and death along the Colorado River

Owen, David, 1955- author

Publication Details Click to collapse Cite/Export

  • Creator David Owen
  • Format Books
  • Publication New York : Riverhead Books, 2017. ©2017
  • Physical Details
    • 274 pages : map ; 24 cm
  • ISBNs 9781594633775, 1594633770, 9780698189904
  • OCLC ocn956479784


  • The Colorado River is a crucial resource for a surprisingly large part of the United States, and every gallon that flows down it is owned or claimed by someone. David Owen traces all that water from the Colorado's headwaters to its parched terminus, once a verdant wetland but now a million-acre desert. He takes readers on an adventure downriver, along a labyrinth of waterways, reservoirs, power plants, farms, fracking sites, ghost towns, and RV parks, to the spot near the U.S.Mexico border where the river runs dry. Water problems in the western United States can seem tantalizingly easy to solve: just turn off the fountains at the Bellagio, stop selling hay to China, ban golf, cut down the almond trees, and kill all the lawyers. But a closer look reveals a vast man-made ecosystem that is far more complex and more interesting than the headlines let on.


  • Includes bibliographical references (pages 261-266) and index.


  • The headwaters -- The law of the River -- Tributaries -- Go West -- Grand Valley -- Salt, dry lots, and houseboats -- Lees Ferry -- Boulder Canyon Project -- Las Vegas -- Colorado River Aqueduct -- Central Arizona Project -- The rule of capture -- Boondocking -- Imperial Valley -- The Salton Sea -- Reclamation -- The delta -- What is to be done?
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