David Owen

Tuesday April 11: 7:00PM 8:00PM

The Colorado River is a crucial resource for a surprisingly large part of the United States, and every gallon that flows down it is owned or claimed by someone. David Owen traces all that water from the Colorado's headwaters to its parched terminus, once a verdant wetland but now a million-acre desert. He takes readers on an adventure downriver, along a labyrinth of waterways, reservoirs, power plants, farms, fracking sites, ghost towns, and RV parks, to the spot near the U.S.–Mexico border where the river runs dry.

Water problems in the western United States can seem tantalizingly easy to solve: just turn off the fountains at the Bellagio, stop selling hay to China, ban golf, cut down the almond trees, and kill all the lawyers. But a closer look reveals a vast man-made ecosystem that is far more complex and more interesting than the headlines let on.

The story Owen tells in Where the Water Goes is crucial to our future: how a patchwork of engineering marvels, byzantine legal agreements, aging infrastructure, and neighborly cooperation enables life to flourish in the desert, and the disastrous consequences we face when any part of this tenuous system fails. Join Owen and New York Times metropolitan infrastructure reporter Emily Rueb for a conversation about water and the way we live with it.

This event is free and open to the public. Copies of Where the Water Goes will be available at the event. This event will take place in the Rare Book Room, located on the third floor of the Strand, 828 Broadway (at 12th Street).

David Owen is a staff writer for The New Yorker and the author more than a dozen books. He lives in northwestConnecticut with his wife, the writer Ann Hodgman. His new book Where the Water Goes: Life and Death Along the Colorado River is forthcoming from Riverhead Books on April 11.

Event banner illustration by Henry McCausland.

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