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Imported water has transformed the Golden State’s environment and quality of life. Land ownership patterns and real estate boosterism dramatically altered both urban and rural communities across the entire state. The key has been redirecting water from the Eastern Sierra, the Colorado River, and Northern California rivers. Whoever brings the water, brings the people,” wrote engineer William Mullholland, whose leadership began the process of water irrigating unlimited growth. Using first-person voices of Californians to reveal the resulting changes, Carle concludes that now is the time to stop drowning the California Dream.
With extensive use of oral histories, contemporary newspaper articles and autobiographies, Carle provides a rich exploration of the historic changes in California, as imported water shaped patterns of growth and development. In this thoroughly revised edition, Carle brings that history up to date, as water choices remain the primary tool for shaping California’s future. In a land where climate change is exacerbating the challenges of a naturally dry region, the state’s damaged environment and reduced quality of life can be corrected, Carle argues, if Californians step out of the historic pattern and embrace limited water supplies as a fact of life.
David Carle grew up in Orange County, California, received his bachelors degree at U.C. Davis in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology and a masters degree from C.S.U. Sacramento in Recreation and Parks Administration. He was a park ranger in California State Parks for 27 years; including the Mendocino Coast, Hearst Castle, the Auburn State Recreation Area (in the gold country of the Sierra foothills), and the State Indian Museum in Sacramento. From 1982 through 2000, at the Mono Lake Tufa State Reserve, he shared the unit ranger position with his wife, participating in the long effort to protect that Eastern Sierra inland sea from the effects of stream diversions to Los Angeles. He taught biology and natural history courses at Cerro Coso Community College, the Eastern Sierra College Center in Mammoth Lakes. He is presently retired and serving as historian for the Mono Basin Historical Society. Carle has authored or co-authored 12 nonfiction books and 2 novels.