Obi Kaufmann, author of the best-selling California Field Atlas, turns his artful yet analytical attention to the Golden State's single most complex and controversial resource: water.
In this book, Kaufmann's signature full-color maps unravel the braided knot of California's water infrastructure and ecosystems, exposing a history of unlimited growth in spite of finite natural resources--a history that has led to its current precarious circumstances. Yet this built world depends upon the biosphere, and in The State of Water
Kaufmann argues that environmental conservation and restoration efforts are necessary not only for ethical reasons but also as a matter of human survival. Offering nine perspectives to illustrate the most pressing challenges facing California's water infrastructure, from dams to species revitalization, Kaufmann reveals pragmatic yet inspiring solutions to how water in the West can continue to support agriculture, municipalities, and the environment. Interspersed throughout with trail paintings of animals that might yet survive under a caring and careful water ethic, Kaufmann shows how California can usher in a new era of responsible water conservation, and--perhaps most importantly--how we may do so together.
Growing up in the East Bay as the son of an astrophysicist and a psychologist, Obi Kaufmann spent most of his high school practicing calculus and breaking away on weekends to scramble around Mount Diablo and map its creeks, oak forests, and sage mazes. Into adulthood, he would regularly journey into the mountains, spending more summer nights without a roof than with one. He is the author of The California Field Atlas (2017, #1 San Francisco Chronicle Best Seller), The State of Water: Understanding California's Most Precious Natural Resource (2019), The Forests of California: A California Field Atlas (2020), and The Coasts of California (2022), all published by Heyday. When he is not backpacking, you can find the painter-poet at home in the East Bay, posting trail paintings at his handle @coyotethunder on Instagram. His website is coyoteandthunder.com.