Charles Bowden's first book, Killing the Hidden Waters, is an effort to awaken people to the costs and limits of using natural resources through a simple and obvious example — water. First published in 1977, it was reissued in 2003 with a with a new introduction, "What I Learned Watching the Wells Go Down." He drives home the point that years of droughts, rationing, and even water wars have done nothing to slake the insatiable consumption of water in the American West.
Praise for Killing the Hidden Waters:
"Charles Bowden's Killing the Hidden Waters is the best all-around summary I've read yet, anywhere, of how our greed-driven, ever-expanding urban industrial empire is consuming, wasting, poisoning and destroying not only the resource basis of its own existence but also the vital, sustaining basis of all life everywhere. This one little book tells the whole story. In my opinion, Charles Bowden is the best social critic and environmental journalist now working in the Amcrican southwest, a sharp and engaging writer who never lets his cool disgust at our collective stupidity erode his fundamental sympathy for thc actual living, breathing, still hopeful human beings who inhabit this besieged land. I salute him, and I wish him a million readers." —Edward Abbey, author of Beyond the Wall