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The Dreamt Land – A Review

If you are serious about conserving water in California, a full understanding of where water comes from and how water is used is mandatory. This book gives readers an insider’s view of what goes on in the complicated world of California water. Mark Arax, who comes from a family of Central Valley farmers, covers water from the view of almond growers, wheat ranchers, fruit farmers, citizens, and today’s Big Ag. Readers come away with a solid understanding of the many varied points of view on water.

Water’s importance is growing daily, but interest in reading about water is still not high. Mark Arax makes water interesting in this book by showing the impact it has on our lives. This impact includes workers, growers, developers, and business owners who support agriculture in California. Mark understands the various points of view from living in the community and from over 250 personal interviews he conducted with leaders and users in the water community.

If you think you have a good understanding of water in California, I still believe this book is for you. At times the depth of reporting Mark goes into in the book touches on water history I have not read anywhere before. It dives into levels of water history and use that impacts us all, and most have no idea about it. Previously, when water was so plentiful, we didn’t need to worry about the history or use. Today in the new normal drought environment, it should be mandatory reading for every Californian. If you understand the impact agriculture in California has on the entire nation, you will also understand how important this book is for people to read outside of the state.

Finally, Mark is an excellent writer. He excitingly tells the story of water touching most readers. He brings details, facts, and history to life with his words. I often found myself setting the book down after reading just a few pages to digest what I read. You will come away with a better understanding of water and why you have an emotional attachment to water.



  • Gary Petersen ,

    Couldn’t agree more Richard. This is likely the most important California Water History book ever written. It is as essential as “Cadillac Desert” and more important as it focuses on areas of California that have not been discussed before. I have also been recommending this book highly to a number of folks. Thanks for the review

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