The last concrete

One of my early ideas for a western water book was going to be called “The Last Concrete”, telling the story of the last big water project to be built in the western United States. But this is a dilemma, because which will it be? And how do we know the others lingering on the laundry list won’t be built? So, definitely dumb idea for a book.

Hillary Rosner stood recently in the mountain valley to be submerged in Colorado’s proposed Chimney Hollow project and pondered the same sort of question:

At some level, decisions about how to plan for the future of Western water supplies come down to both values and inertia. As Werner says, it’s not feasible to stop people from moving to Colorado’s Front Range and other booming parts of the Western U.S. While environmental conditions—unbearably hot summers or persistent extreme drought—might ultimately make both the Front Range and the entire West far less attractive, for the moment, they’re still desirable places to live. It’s hard to stop progress.


  1. The Bay-Delta Conservation Plan (and cross-Delta tunnels).

    (Do you see any other multi-billion dollar project even in the planning stages?)

  2. If you have not yet read “Stanislaus” by Tim Palmer, I recommend it. It is a brilliant account of the fight to save a river. While the New Melones dam conquered the river, additional concrete in California ceased for 35+ years and counting.

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