Stay warm and dry and enjoy wet stories
Water is always an important topic, and the management of it is a bipartisan issue. From industry to agriculture to recreation to life, we all rely on water. I asked leaders in our watershed about their favorite water-related books for recommendations as vacation reads, or perhaps for that one last gift. The responses are from board members of the Middle Colorado Watershed Council and partner organizations.
Fingers crossed we will be reading these books while pillows of snow fall from the sky over the next few weeks to make up for the deficit in snowpack. At last update from the NIDIS, National Integrated Drought Information System, Garfield county is “abnormally dry” with about 60-80 percent of average snowpack.
So, while we wish for snow, enjoy these books and learn a bit more about our essential resource this vacation.
Laurie Rink, executive director, Middle Colorado Watershed Council, Glenwood Springs
“The Secret Knowledge of Water: Discovering the Essence of the American Desert,” Craig Childs
“Although it’s been a while since I’ve picked up this book, I love Childs’ work. He is a keen and relentless observer of nature, offering insights that are only revealed to the persistent. He touches the animal soul in me through his prose.”
Trent Mahaffey, operator in responsible charge, Waste Water Treatment Facility, Glenwood Springs
“Desert Solitaire,” Edward Abbey
“This is an excellent read. It provides a unique perspective into how water development in the West has changed the identity of our land. In this book, Abbey has a brilliant way of describing the transformation of Arches National Park and Glen Canyon over the last 60 years. I was stunned on how different these areas are today.”
Hannah Holm, coordinator at Hutchins Water Center, Colorado Mesa University, Grand Junction
“Water is for Fighting Over, and other Myths about Water in the West,” John Fleck
“I am currently reading this book. Fleck covers the history and current challenges of managing the overextended Colorado River system in a surprisingly engaging, clear and optimistic fashion.”
Donna Gray, president of the board, Middle Colorado Watershed Council, Glenwood Springs
“Beyond the Hundredth Meridian,” Wallace Stegner
“Beyond the Hundredth Meridian recounts Powell’s struggle with Washington politics, his understanding of the American West. John Wesley Powell warned of the dangers economic exploitation in the late 1800s would harm the as-yet unspoiled country of the lands east of the hundredth meridian.”
Chris Treese, external affairs manager, Colorado River District, Glenwood Springs
“Adrift: 76 Days Lost at Sea,” Steven Callahan
“A gripping and gut-wrenching book of survival, determination and divine intervention. This book, better than any other work, communicates the value and preciousness of drinkable water.”
Hannah Klausman, planner, City of Glenwood Springs
“The Emerald Mile: The Epic Story of the Fastest Ride in History through the Grand Canyon,” Kevin Fedarko
“‘The Emerald Mile’ is a true story of the fastest boat ride ever, down the entire length of the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, during the legendary flood of 1983. The main story is about three crazy Grand Canyon river guides speeding through the canyon on flood surges exceeding 90,000 cubic feet per second, in a wooden dory boat.
“The backstory (and possibly the more dominant one) is about the struggle between development and conservation. What I liked about this book is that it presents all sides of water from different user groups’ perspectives, ranging from the river guides and recreation users, to the Sierra Club, to the Bureau of Reclamation, to the engineers building the Glen Canyon Dam, to the municipal water demand, and finally to the ultimately untamable ways of nature. It really gives a clear picture just how many players are involved, and their respective needs when it comes to water.”
Morgan Hill, environmental health specialist, Garfield County Public Health, Glenwood Springs
“Cadillac Desert,” Mark Reisner
“‘Cadillac Desert’ has been my favorite book on water issues in the West. I thought it was a comprehensive examination of the great lengths people have gone to in their fight to harness water for their benefit. It describes the agencies that regulate the development of water resources and how this has allowed unprecedented population and industrial growth in areas where this could not have existed previously – and how this overallocation puts us in danger of severe water shortages in the face of impending drought.
“Ultimately this book shaped my understanding of this critical and life-giving resource in our arid communities. I’m constantly asking people when I talk about water issues, ‘Have you read ‘Cadillac Desert?’’”
Annie Whetzel is community outreach coordinator for the Middle Colorado Watershed Council.
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