Oreo Book Club: Cadilac Desert by Mark Reisner

Mary Crowl hosted the meeting with chocolates from Ghirardelli’s in San Francisco as an added treat. We discussed Cadillac Desert by Mark Reisner, a book that reviews the history of water use in the United States, but particularly in the western states. Reisner documents the inappropriate over-use of rivers and underground water by agriculture and business groups that grow water-consuming nut trees instead of fruit, use open canals instead of pipes (leading to high evaporation) and exhaust ground water supplies. The Bureau of Land Management has built dams blocking natural water flow and costing millions to build and maintain. Our group concluded that only a severe water crisis would lead politicians and business interests to change their practices. Recent rains offer only a short term respite in California, but nothing long range. Reisner is not the best writer we have encountered, but he addresses a critical issue. Our next meeting will discuss Race and Slavery in the Middle East by Terence Walz and Kenneth Cuno. If you would like to attend our book review group, email Norton
Schwartz at Nortlynne@Cox.net.

—Norton Schwartz

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