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I learned so much about the history of Florida and its water systems from this read Boy, what a mess we ve made Mirage was published than 11 years ago, so I d like to hope we ve made some progress in the restoration of our natural water systems in the meantime However, another toxic algae bloom this summer has dampened my hopes Florida s environmental challenges should be a top issue for any future local elections The state relies on its natural resources and beauty too much for residents to continue to ignore the damage being done Ultimately, the choices we make about her water will help determine how we fare as states, as a nation, as humans We can go on wasting copious amounts of water, using treated drinking water to quench suburban lawns, or we can appreciate it s worth We can keep giving water away, for free, to anyone with a business plan, or put a price on it to make sure water is protected and valued We can continue to bend wetlands and growth laws, or we can demand their consistent enforcement We can spend tax dollars on enormous water diversion and other technological schemes that may be risky, or we can spend them on water conservation, land preservation, and restoration projects We can watch our children repeat the mistakes of Americas water history in the East, draining water and giving it away to all comers in the West, damming it up and doling it out until there is not enough for people or nature.Or we can teach them how lucky they are to have water for drinking, for bathing, or simply for the sheer joy of plunging into an icy, clear blue spring on a hot summer day. I read this book simply because I was intrigued by the possibility of a water crisis in a water drenched state This is about as comprehensive book as you can get that thoroughly answers that question Barnett does a great job incorporating the settling of Florida and the policies that followed throughout the Sunshine State s history Florida was first defined by its water the Everglades, swamps, marches and rainfall that made the state either unlivable or undesirable To spark growth, the government began giving away natural resource rights to private developers who then immediately started the ditch and drain process that disrupted the state to its core The land giveaways, overbonding,m and swampland sales catapulted the state into debt, and eventually drainage was replaced by flood control After WWII population growth became the leading contributor to the water crisis, with vast drainage and reckless groundwater pumping depleting the resource.As would happen across the West, dams, canals and other diversion projects served as a Catch 22 to Florida s growth to keep building, Floridians had to drain swampland, but to quench the thirst of the new residents, Floridians needed that water they were draining Saltwater intrusion, agricultural and industrial pollution followed compounded by the lack or organic soils that acted as a filter from drainage the growth and ecological destruction became inevitable Governed by riparian rights or the rights of landowners to use water that touched their land for reasonable use Florida attempted to manage its quickly depleting resource through laws that were consistent with the public interest and did not harm other users This last half of the book dealt with the reaction to the damage incurred in the late 19th and early to mid 20th century by the end of the 2oth century and start of the 21st, Floridians were well aware of the problem they had Environmental projects started sprouting up, politicians took notice and real change started occurring Restoring the Everglades was a chance at redemption for all of America, writes Barnett The solution dint lie in diversion projects but rather conservation efforts.If we treat water like oil, we allow it to be a commodity that is over pumped, under priced and used wastefully, as Peter Gleick from the Pacific Institute is quoted as saying This leads to water wars between states, international conflict and competition and environmental destruction. A discussion and history of the escalating preciousness of freshwater in the United States In the overdeveloped state of Florida, where the most valuable crop is rooftops, homeowners are feeling the pinch even as new suburbs pop up in drained wetlands to further strain the water supply The author drives home the point that in this swampy peninsula, real estate developers wield political clout roughly equal to that of Category 5 hurricanes Jeb Bush, erstwhile land developer and ongoing sadsack, ran for governor as a bilingual pragmatist and ostensible conservationist and spent eight years slightly impeding the process of knocking down orange groves to make room for pharmacies Published in 2007, the book also gives a still pertinent overview of the contentious Tragedy of the Commons politics of the Great Lakes, the Colorado River, and elsewhere in the world. Cynthia Barnett takes readers on a journey through Florida via its rivers, lakes and springs, to show us firsthand the impact of man s actions on these natural gems What makes this book so important is that in spite of her passion or maybe because of it she resists presenting water issues as an us versus them fight Instead, she lays out the facts artfully, showing readers how we got where we are and the consequences for continuing on this path.This book would be my top recommendation for anyone interested in water policy or water conservation issues I think it should be required reading for anyone seeking public office or accepting a policy making role in Florida I ve actually read it twice Once, as a consultant with an agenda and again as a native Floridian Both times, I was impressed by the quality, clarity and objectivity with which the information was presented. This is a very interesting and well written book It made the dry subject of water scarcity rather interesting The book started out slow but it got interesting as it went on I love how the book went into details about different regions of the United States and other places in the world and how they address some of their water issues Water Wars around the U.S could have been the title for this book.I like the basic answer to the whole problem in that we should stop wasting water The author points this out repeatedly that we use way too much of it and we pay very little for it Charging bottling companies, increasing prices for water, encouraging conservation, using reclaimed water and other very simple ideas seem to go a long way.I found the chapters about the Everglades and water desalination efforts very interesting The little end bit about Clyde Butcher s photography was good too.I don t have a lawn to water..I live in an apartment in Florida and don t have a water bill but the whole book makes me want to conserve water even. Cynthia Barnett s Mirage tells the story and history of the mis management of Florida s water resources It begins with developers who pleaded with politicians at the birth of the state to aid them in the draining of water for the sake of development and ends in the early twenty first century where developers are clamoring for governments to do the opposite and provide sources of fresh water for development.The author also examines other water shortages taking place in the Eastern U.S and contrasts them with the arid western half of the country where water wars have been historic in nature.Along the way, the book highlights different Florida governors and their actions or inactions to aid the management of Florida s water system I personally developed an appreciation for governor Askew 1971 79 , a name I hadn t heard before in my 24 years living in Florida.The author introduced me to the concept of The Tragedy of the Commons and if anything displays that concept to its fullest, it would be the tale of water usage in Florida.I was also fascinated to learn the effects of water drainage on the climate of the area being drained It alters not only the rainfall, but the likelihood of plunging temperatures.If you re interested in water management, the environment, or the history of the state of Florida, read this book. |Download Book ♵ Mirage: Florida and the Vanishing Water of the Eastern U.S. ♷ Never Before Has The Case Been Compellingly Made That America S Dependence On A Free And Abundant Water Supply Has Become An Illusion Cynthia Barnett Does It By Telling Us The Stories Of The Amazing Personalities Behind Our Water Wars, The Stunning Contradictions That Allow The Wettest State To Have The Most Watered Lawns, And The Thorough Research That Makes Her Conclusions Inescapable Barnett Has Established Herself As One Of Florida S Best Journalists And Mirage Is A Must Read For Anyone Who Cares About The Future Of The State Mary Ellen Klas, Capital Bureau Chief, MiamiHerald Mirage Is The Finest General Study To Date Of The Freshwater Supply Crisis In Florida Well Meaning Villains Abound In Cynthia Barnett S Story, But So Too Do Heroes, Such As Arthur R Marshall Jr Nathaniel Reed, And Marjorie Harris Carr The Author S Research Is As Thorough As Her Prose Is Graceful Drinking Water Is The New Oil Get Used To It Michael Gannon, Distinguished Professor Of History, University Of Florida, And Author Of Florida A Short History With Lively Prose And A Journalist S Eye For A Good Story, Cynthia Barnett Offers A Sobering Account Of Water Scarcity Problems Facing Florida One Of Our Wettest States And The Rest Of The East Coast Drawing On Lessons Learned From The American West, Mirage Uses The Lens Of Cultural Attitudes About Water Use And Misuse To Plead For Reform Sure To Engage And Fascinate As It Informs Robert Glennon, Morris K Udall Professor Of Law And Public Policy, University Of Arizona, And Author Of Water Follies Groundwater Pumping And The Fate Of America S Fresh Waters Part Investigative Journalism, Part Environmental History, Mirage Reveals How The Eastern Half Of The Nation Historically So Wet That Early Settlers Predicted It Would Never Even Need Irrigation Has Squandered So Much Of Its Abundant Freshwater That It Now Faces Shortages And Conflicts Once Unique To The Arid West Florida S Parched Swamps And Supersized Residential Developments Set The Stage In The First Book To Call Attention To The Steady Disappearance Of Freshwater In The American East, From Water Diversion Threats In The Great Lakes To Tapped Out Freshwater Aquifers Along The Atlantic Seaboard Told Through A Colorful Cast Of Characters Including Walt Disney, Jeb Bush And Texas Oilman Boone Pickens, Mirage Ferries The Reader Through The Key Water Supply Issues Facing America And The Globe Water Wars, The Politics Of Development, Inequities In The Price Of Water, The Bottled Water Industry, Privatization, And New Water Supply Schemes From Its Calamitous Opening Scene Of A Sinkhole Swallowing A House In Florida To Its Concluding Meditation On The Relationship Between Water And The American Character, Mirage Is A Compelling And Timely Portrait Of The Use And Abuse Of Freshwater In An Era Of Rapidly Vanishing Natural Resources What a serendipitous book to have already selected to read immediately after Dune, where water is a valuable resource This is reputed to be the first book to discuss the problems in the Eastern U.S while focusing on Florida related to how our natural fresh water supplies are in danger of disappearing, history as to how we got to this point, as well as possible solutions The fact that it is 12 years old makes it even depressing.The author does have a habit of repeating some facts often I don t know how many times she said that, by 2015, Florida was projected to surpass New York to become the 3rd most populated state, which was correct In 2019, FL has 2.2 million people than NY but very often cited as if it was the first instance. Not the most exciting thing Chapter nine was a highlight Whether you re reading The Wal Mart Effect, Collapse, or this it s terrifying to see the Tragedy of the Commons being repeated again and again and again The message is clear we need to pay the ACTUAL value for our resources Sure we can supplement for the poor, but rich people are paying LESS for these things We need to be conscientious of true cost so that we are forced to use wisely and responsibly. The Stranger Than Non Fiction Book Club gave Mirage by Cynthia Barnett a 4 star rating The general consensus was it was slow to start, and it was depressing based on the subject matter It was also very informative and did improve as the group read farther into the book The majority felt that all Floridians should read it in order to understand the vital importance to water conservation A definite recommend.