I have a bit of a fascination with California’s Central Valley at the moment. It’s an academic interest grounded in personal reasons. My academic work made me a bit of a fan of desert biomes, and the politics of water distribution. But if you are curious about the herculean efforts to battle nature (and lose spectacularly) you need look no further than SoCal and Arizona.
Here we have two American societies utterly dependent on water. One dependent on massive hydrological engineering for irrigation and one for hydro-electricity.
What they both have in common is an utter failure to adjust to new ways of generating electricity and fresh water. Southern California in particular has failed to grasp the possibility of harnessing wind, tidal and solar energy to produce a massive desalinization programme. Instead it shifts water out of the Northern California watersheds towards the unsustainable communities south.
Arizona’s dependence on the grand-canyon to generate electricity to power its thirsty a/c systems is another crucial failure.