Found in 8 comments on Hacker News
For those interested in the topic, Cadillac Desert is also a great read:

It's more encompassing of much of the water development projects in the American West and contains very interesting and entertaining history. Like a watered down Chinatown.

zengid · 2017-03-04 · Original thread
Quite an interesting (and somewhat infuriating) history. Cadillac Desert [1] is also an excellent chronicle of water projects in the west.


pault · 2016-01-28 · Original thread
People born after the 1970s may not be aware of the Teton Dam collapse, but it was another case of total disregard for many, many expert warnings of disaster in the rush to build something big and impressive. Here's kind of a cheesy documentary clip describing the incident [1], but the book Cadillac Desert [2] goes into some detail if you're curious.



mikepurvis · 2015-03-13 · Original thread
The definitive history of water development in California is this book:

It's almost thirty years old now, but the history is just as relevant, and the warnings issued similarly prescient.

Anyone interested in the mind-bending history of moistening the West in general and California in particular just enough to be advertised as paradise may want to do themselves a favor and read "Cadillac Desert": (Not an affiliate link.)
ChuckMcM · 2012-08-02 · Original thread
Bogus headline. For those of you who haven't lived on the West Coast or read up on issues with water ("Cadillac Desert" is a very accessible) Consequently there are always 'water rights' associated with parcels. Either you have them or you don't when you buy the land. This guy doesn't have rights to the water going through his property, but he is diverting the water for his own use anyway.


It hardly matters until we pump all the aquifers dry. At that point a majority of US crops will be reliant upon rain water, which won't be enough to sustain the farms in the west. Much of Oklahoma, Kansas, California will revert back into the Great American Desert (as it was known before).

For a great book on the subject, check out

Tangurena · 2009-04-27 · Original thread
No, peace isn't the solution. In the western states, such as CO and UT, the water-rights laws are tangled, messy and arcane. They even predate the statehood and are embedded in the state constitutions.

Effectively, once you turn a pipe on, you can never turn it off. People who have "senior water rights" are allowed under those state laws to make people "upstream" not only stop using water from rivers, but replace the water that they had been using.

Canada has a large number of rivers that flow north into the Arctic sea. From the US perspective, that water is wasted. "We" would like to see it pumped south. However, we wanted a uniform framework of laws governing that. So we forced the Canadians into accepting water-rights laws substantially similar to the western states' laws. Consequently, the Canadians banned such water exports.

If you want to see how screwed up water distribution is in the US. And how political the mess is, then I recommed that you read the book Cadillac Desert.

And as for the anthropik article, several of the points made in that article (and yes, I know it rambles too much) have to do with how Israel needs the water, and how that water is critical to the security of their nation. When the water being pumped out of the aquifers in Gaza became too contaminated for agriculture, then Gaza ended up getting returned to Palestinian control (and now about all that grows are flowers and hatred). If you look at the "security barrier" on the West Bank, it seems to follow no political nor demographic map. When you map that security barrier against the aquifer's boundaries, then you get a match.

Water is life. And the Babylonians had to struggle with salt deposits in their cropland. As their fields got too salty for high yielding crops like citrus and wheat, they had to switch to lower yielding grains like emmer (good luck finding that outside of a health food store) and barley. Some of those fields ended up so salty that they shine in modern day Iraqi sunlight: those are salt deposits from more than 2000 years ago.

Food is life. Water is life. Without both, we die. Therefore they become political.

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