Twenty-one years ago, I did a very bad thing. This is my confession.
On the Public Record lists the 1979 California Water Atlas as one of the essential texts, describing it thus:
Try to get your hands on one of the old California Water Atlas, put out in the 1970?s. They’re real big, bound in navy blue. All the cool kids have one. Don’t know if it has any information you couldn’t find online these days (here it is!), but having one in your office is part of the secret handshake.
In my travels this week interviewing California water people, four of them had it within arms’ reach of their desk. Phil Isenberg, head of the Delta Stewardship Council, had it out on his office conference table.
I too own a copy, but I am not proud of this fact.
In the late 1980s, when I started writing about water for the Pasadena Star-News, there was a copy laying around the office. I took it home to read, and when I left the Star-News, I kinda forgot to return it before the move to Albuquerque.
Dean Singleton owned the Star-News at the time, so I guess technically it is he who I have wronged. Mr. Singleton, if you are reading this, I apologize. I hope to some day make amends.
But you’re not getting your book back.
Werner Herzog stole the camera he needed to make his first film. He said that it was rightfully his, and his subsequent record shows he was correct. You should think of this Atlas in the same way.