From Where the Water Goes:
The Colorado provides an especially useful introduction to water issues because we literally use it up. The river’s historical outlet is at the northern end of the Gulf of California, also known as the Sea of Cortez, where the Baja Peninsula joins the mainland like an arm attaching itself to a torso. But people who depend on the Colorado divert so much water as the river winds through the southwestern United States that since the early nineteen-sixties it has seldom flowed all the way to the end, and since the late nineteen-nineties has made it only once. There’s a point, not far from the border, where the water simply runs out, and from there to the gulf what ought to be the river’s streambed becomes difficult to distinguish from the arid expanse on either side. For most of the past fifty years, the Colorado’s historical delta, which once was a complex and intermittently verdant wetland, has been a million-acre desert. People who drive into or out of the town of San Luis Rio Colorado, in the Mexican state of Sonora, sometimes complain about having to pay a six-peso toll to cross a bridge that spans only sand.
"It's a rare writer who can explain the inexplicable, but David Owen manages to do just that. Where the Water Goes is at once informative, entertaining, and unsparing—essential reading for anyone who cares about the American West."
— Elizabeth Kolbert, author of The Sixth Extinction.
"An important work that brings the questions surrounding water use in the American Southwest forward to the era of climate change. With humor, an acute eye, and unshowy skill, Owen has written a book that deserves to stand with Marc Reisner's classic, Cadillac Desert."
— Ian Frazier, author of Great Plains, On the Rez, and Hogs Wild.
"I have traveled the American West all of my life and thought that I knew everything about its fabled water wars. But David Owen fills in so many gaps that I feel I've been to water reeducation camp. Whether you read for fun or edification, this is a gem."
— Rinker Buck, author of The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey.
"Fascinating, thoughtful, and wise. David Owen is an extraordinarily gifted writer."
— Bill Bryson, author of The Road to Little Dribbling and A Walk in the Woods.
For more about Where the Water Goes—including photographs—go here.