The West has long been plagued by conflict. Now, news sources report that it meets another challenge—the dropping water levels in Lake Mead. Headlines profess an apocalyptic tale that water wars have arrived in the West. But are battles truly raging?
In his two decades of reporting on water in the Southwest, longtime journalist John Fleck argues that rather than fighting over water, he has seen stories of successful compromise. In Water is for Fighting Over...and Other Myths about Water in the West, newly available in paperback, he offers a unique, fresh perspective on the catastrophe narrative of the West, showcasing how this region is less of a battlefield and more of a place where individuals and communities find common ground amid a changing geography. He highlights stories where people and cities adapt to conserve water, wildlife, and agriculture. Underlying each of these success stories is a person or city ready to adapt and compromise rather than fight for every drop of water in an already shrinking system.
Find out for yourself why the book has been called "illuminating," (New York Times) "thought-provoking," (Vox), an "engaging journalistic odyssey" (New Scientist), and been honored as WIRED's Required Science Reading. Read Chapter 4 “Negotiating the Rapids” below, or download the PDF here.