...a staggering glimpse of just how complex the situation is — and how long the river has been a concern ... Where the Water Goes is, if nothing else, a crucial admission of the mess we're in ... Owens is effortlessly engaging, informally parceling out information about acre-foot allotments alongside sketches of notable, often dreadful figures in the river's history. And though his sympathies are clear, he doesn't shy away from the reality that these problems resist simple solutions ... a restless travelogue of long-term human impact on the natural world, and how politics and economics have as much to do with redirecting rivers as any canal. But with its historical eddies, policy asides, and trips to the Hoover Dam, at heart Where the Water Goes is about water as a function of time, and a reminder that we're running out of both.
Where the Water Goes exposes and revels in the complexities of water policy ... What, then, is the solution? Here Where the Water Goes suffers its only real shortcoming. The book is a delightful read, digressive and omnivorous in its concern with natural history, travel, public policy, and geography. But Owen does not pretend to have answers. While identifying difficult trade-offs in water management, he does not make any choices.
What Mr. Owen offers is a detail-rich travelogue, an amalgam of memoir and journalism and history, moving across a watershed that sustains 36 million people from Wyoming to Mexico ... But Mr. Owen’s book is no environmental manifesto. He makes room for nature and advocacy but embraces complexity and conflicting needs ... Mr. Owen writes about water, but in these polarized times the lessons he shares spill into other arenas.