Water Follies: Groundwater Pumping And The Fate Of America’s Fresh Waters

Water FolliesAuthor: Robert Jerome Glennon
Publisher: Island Press
ISBN: 1559634006

As Robert Glennon explores the folly of our actions and the laws governing them, he suggests common-sense legal and policy reforms that could help avert potentially catastrophic future effects. Water Follies, the first book to focus on the impact of groundwater pumping on the environment, brings this widespread but underappreciated problem to the attention of citizens and communities across America.

Robert Glennon sketches the culture of water use in the United States, explaining how and why we are growing increasingly reliant on groundwater. He uses the examples of the Santa Cruz and San Pedro rivers in Arizona to illustrate the science of hydrology and the legal aspects of water use and conflicts. Following that, he offers a dozen stories — ranging from Down East Maine to San Antonio’s River Walk to Atlanta’s burgeoning suburbs — that clearly illustrate the array of problems caused by groundwater pumping.

Each episode poses a conflict of values that reveals the complexity of how and why we use water. These poignant and sometimes perverse tales tell of human foibles including greed, stubbornness, and, especially, the unlimited human capacity to ignore reality.

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