In my list of “science-y topics I love,” water is not near the top. The State of Water, however, makes me crush hard on it in all of its beautiful, meandering ways. There’s an anatomical look to the art, which shouldn’t be surprising seeing as how dependent we are on water’s ability to travel throughout the state. A gorgeous companion to The California Field Atlas, it covers water’s presence in California, our history, and the future.
Obi Kaufmann, author of the best-selling California Field Atlas, turns his artful yet analytical attention to the Golden State's single most complex and controversial resource: water. In this new book, full-color maps unravel the braided knot of California's water infrastructure and ecosystems, exposing a history of unlimited growth in spite of finite natural resources--a history that has led to its current precarious circumstances. Yet this built world depends upon the biosphere, and in The State of Water Kaufmann argues that environmental conservation and restoration efforts are necessary not only for ethical reasons but also as a matter of human survival. Offering nine perspectives to illustrate the most pressing challenges facing California's water infrastructure, from dams to species revitalization, Kaufmann reveals pragmatic yet inspiring solutions to how water in the West can continue to support agriculture, municipalities, and the environment. Interspersed throughout with trail paintings of animals that might yet survive under a caring and careful water ethic, Kaufmann shows how California can usher in a new era of responsible water conservation, and--perhaps most importantly--how we may do so together.