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There’s more than one instance in the PEX portion of the revised and expanded Plumbing A House, where the author makes known (to put it lightly) his concerns with the water rights situation in California, the most populous State in our Union. (Water rights vary by State and California is by no means facing a daunting water future, alone.) In this blog post I would like to take this opportunity to tell you about a new book that regardless of where you live, you might want to read if you have any interest in water issues, at all. Personally speaking, the author believes that all residents of the Seven Western States in the Colorado River Compact should know what’s contained in this book.
On my suggested reading list in Plumbing A House, Cadillac Desert was at the top. This new read: Tim Stroshane’s Drought, Water Law and the Origins of California’s Central Valley Project is an excellent follow-up, illuminating many (formerly unmentioned) events that were precursors to the creation of the State Water Project, and which (now) raises awareness about the intractable problems still facing California’s water future. (One of the very succinct bits of information is Stroshane’s quote of Abraham Lincoln: “As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.”
The issues raised in Stroshane’s book (in this author’s opinion) also directly affect the not so far off future of the plumbing industry and the continued role of the plumber in our society. Humankind requires clean water to stay alive and our current methods of sanitary plumbing are built upon unconstrained supplies. Great progress is being made by large population centers on water re-use, but the question remains whether nature will continue to serve up dependable precipitation for these and current systems to continue.
If you were also to read “Clean And Decent” which is on the suggested reading list, you would see early examples of “dry” (‘earth’) toilets, which in some new form (composting?) could again (no matter how ‘unpalatable’) be in our future. Whether you fall into the riparian law camp or that of the appropriative law proponents (you might surprise yourself to discover which one you are.). Stroshane will help you understand California’s future water battles as they unfold.
Peter Hemp is a San Francisco East Bay residential plumber and plumbing author and former R & D steam vehicle plumber. His hobbies are ocean kayaking and touring the Left Coast by bicycle.