Water Wars

Sharing the Colorado River

Non-Fiction - Environment
208 Pages
Reviewed on 08/10/2021
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite

Water Wars: Sharing the Colorado River by Bruce J. Carter, Ph.D. and Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph.D. is a straightforward, no holds barred non-fiction environmental crisis book on the genuine probability that the world's most precious natural resource, clean drinking water, is on the fast track to being tapped out. Using the Colorado River as ground zero, the work spreads its information across thirteen distinct and interconnecting chapters. Carter and Cooper cover this looming threat extensively, explaining how water access and management varies significantly by region, discussing global peril and the conflict that already exists, as well as the laws, rights, and the impact of the Colorado River's megadrought, among many other areas of importance.

During my California childhood, water rationing was just something we did. I don't remember being told when not to flush a toilet, or a time when I didn't turn off the shower between lather and rinse. Later, when I moved to Las Vegas as an adult, I found it peculiar that we were not allowed to have grass in our backyards, but the Bellagio could spit out 22-million gallons for a fountain show. Water Wars took what was simply peculiar to me and turned it into what it always should have been: genuine concern. For me, the meat of this book is in its references to Elinor Ostrom's work and how the greatest danger to water access is the self-interest of the few over the pooling of resources for the many. For how important an advocate she was, I didn't know anything about her before Dr. Carter and Dr. Cooper brought her into the deep folds of their book. Chapter thirteen's recommendations are enough to give a reader hope. But more than that, the book as a whole should provide a reader with power. The power to proactively lobby from the bottom up to save an essential resource that none of us can live without.