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  • The Commonwealth Club 110 The Embarcadero San Francisco, CA, 94105 United States (map)

Rolling hills, fertile soil: John Steinbeck’s California contrasts a Central Valley that “shouts with grass” during wet years and “puts a terror in the valley” in dry ones. Now, 70 years and four droughts later, California’s cyclical water shortages continue to disrupt a robust agricultural economy—one that produces up to two thirds of the country’s fruit, vegetables and nuts year-round.

In his new book The Dreamt Land: Chasing Water and Dust Across California, author Mark Arax explores the tumultuous history and reality behind the myth of the Golden State. Can a decades-old distribution system meet the water needs of the future? Will redirecting rivers, drilling deeper wells and building higher dams quench California’s demand for water? What happens when the next record-breaking drought hits?

Join us with author Mark Arax, water and communications expert Faith Kearns, and Los Angeles Times reporter Diana Marcum for a conversation about living the California dream in a drought-prone state.