The State of Water: Understanding California’s Most Precious Resource PREORDER

This title will ship on June 4, 2019.

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 new book, 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. But 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 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.

Advance Praise

“Obi Kaufmann dives fearlessly and joyfully into the maelstrom that is The State of Water in California. Luscious illustrations reveal that joy, accompanied by text that faces historic challenges and a troubled future head on. This is not a book with a political agenda, other than 'to point out our agreements over our differences,' yet Kaufmann's concern for moral integrity points toward better ways we might compete for out limited water resource. With words and images the book affirms that 'water is life.' Let's lift a glass of the precious stuff to the hope that every Californian will read The State of Water.”—David Carle, author of Introduction to Water in California and Water and the California Dream

About the Author

Obi KaufmannGrowing up in the East Bay as the son of an astrophysicist and a psychologist, Obi Kaufmann spent most of 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. For Kaufmann, the epic narrative of the California backcountry holds enough art, science, mythology, and language for a hundred field atlases to come. When he is not backpacking, you can find the painter-poet at his desk in Oakland, posting @coyotethunder #trailpaintings on social media. His website is