Action Research Books

Social Justice, Environment and Livability books from MIT Press

Thirst for Growth

Posted by UEPI on June 23, 2008

Thirst for Growth: Water Agencies as Hidden Government in California

Robert Gottlieb and Margaret FitzSimmons

May 1994, University of Arizona Press

Water policy today is at a crossroads. Continued efforts to secure new water supplies to support urban and agricultural expansion have reached an impasse. The viability of the Big Water Project, long the symbol of western water development and the underlying basis for its mission of growth, now seems increasingly uncertain.

In Thirst for Growth, Robert Gottlieb and Margaret FitzSimmons provide an overview of the key issues of public accountability and water policy innovation that confront urban and agricultural water agencies throughout the country – notably in California where the prospects for future water development have become especially problematic. Focusing on six agencies in the Southern California region, they offer a series of case studies analyzing the issues of water quality, including groundwater contamination and disinfection byproducts; reallocation and transfer of existing supplies; and management programs based on pricing changes, the conjunctive use of surface and groundwater supplies, and increased storage capacity aimed at greater efficiencies in stretching those existing supplies.

Thirst for Growth also provides a crucial review of the methods of governance and public input that are central features of today’s water agencies. The extensive and incisive analysis provided by the authors is a reflection of their experience and insight and of years of observation and participation in a changing and sometimes tumultuous water industry in transition from earlier goals and policy objectives.
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