The Aboriginal Waterscape

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Interaction of Native Americans and the Waterscape The Aboriginal Waterscape In The Great Thirst, Norris Hundley offers a comprehensive view of the aboriginal waterscape and how early Native Americans managed the water resources available to them prior to contact with Europeans. He describes a California with abundant water, though not necessarily through rainfall. Depending on the location in California, water can be found in rainfall, runoff from snow melt, and from underground aquifers. At the time of first European contact with the area, these aquifers resulted in underground springs and even fountains coming to the surface of the earth. He discusses rivers, lakes, and marshlands that were year-round, but whose size fluctuated according to the seasons. Furthermore, he discusses how water resources could vary greatly in the area. For example, Hundley discusses both El Nino and La Nina and how they result in fluctuations in precipitation. However, more importantly, Hundley discusses longer periods of drought, which seem to operate independently of the El Nino/ La Nina cycle, and can cause significant shortages in water availability. He discusses the San Joaquin and Sacramento rivers and the roles that they play in the waterscape of the area, as well as the numerous underground water rivers that play pivotal roles as well. Finally, Hundley discusses how the source of the water, the Pacific Ocean, creates the precipitation that falls over the California area, resulting

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