Publisher description for Mirage : the false promise of desert agriculture / Russell Clemings.


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Counter Once touted as the bright hope for feeding the world's growing population, desert irrigation now threatens to destroy the very prosperity it was meant to create.

Sounding the alarm, Mirage traces the development of desert farming, successfully initiated in British India and the American West, and shows the startling, calamitous results of this shortsighted enterprise. With monumental dams and complex technology we have made the desert bloom, only to see those labors eventually poison the land, ruining it for future cultivation and devastating fragile ecosystems.

Chronicling the history of desert agriculture and irrigation in India and the later application of these techniques in the western United States and elsewhere, Clemings portrays ecosystems assaulted by invasive practices and crop irrigation methods designed without heed to the consequences. From the canal colonies of the Indus River basin to the massive dams of the lower Colorado River, we see the disastrous results of bringing and lands under the agricultural yoke at any cost.

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