Cadillac Desert, by Marc Reisner, is a 1986 book published by Viking (ISBN 0-14-017824-4) about land development and water policy in the western United States. Some scholars have described the book as Reisner's magnum opus. Subtitled The American West and its Disappearing Water, it gives the history of the Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and their struggle to remake the American West. The book's main conclusion is that development-driven policies, formed when settling the West was the country's main concern, are having serious long-term negative effects on the environment and water quantity. The book was revised and updated in 1993. A portion of the 1993 update was printed in the inaugural edition of the Hastings West-Northwest Journal of Environmental Law and Policy.
A four-part television documentary based on the revised book was produced by KTEH-TV, the PBS affiliate in San Jose, California, in 1996. The parts are entitled Mulholland’s Dream, An American Nile, The Mercy of Nature, and The Last Oasis.
- John Wesley Powell
- Powell Geographic Expedition of 1869
- Rain follows the plow
- William Mulholland
- Owens Valley
- California Water Wars
- Hoover Dam
- Grand Coulee Dam
- Los Angeles Department of Water and Power
- Central Arizona Project
- Floyd Dominy
- Teton Dam
- St. Francis Dam
- Cadillac Desert, a 1997 documentary based mostly on this book.
- Brian E. Gray, Dedication, 14 Hastings W.-Nw. J. Envt'l L. & Pol'y 29 (2008)
- Marc Reisner, Deconstruction in the Arid West, 1 West-Northwest 1 (1994)
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