“Whiskey’s for Drinkin’, Water’s for Fightin’”
Water is a vital resource for human life and welfare. Not only does water provide fluid for human consumption, it is a primary source of production in food, energy, wildlife and fish habitat, recreation, transportation, and environmental quality. But in the western United States water is scarce. Whereas rainfall in the eastern U.S. is relatively abundant, much of the West is arid, and drought conditions only exacerbate its scarcity. Historically, water scarcity and the tremendous population expansion in the West have led to intense competition for and conflict over water. Those who control water and its distribution also wield extraordinary wealth and power. Drawing on historical accounts, the water crisis in the Klamath Basin, films and documentaries, this colloquium will examine the impact of water in the development of the American West. Among the topics we will explore are the importance of water to Native-American cultures in the Northwest, legal institutions that govern water use, the construction of dams and conveyance facilities on western rivers to augment water supply, the use of water in agriculture, and obstacles to water conservation.
Course taught by
Donald H. Negri