Water’s for not fighting over?

If men will fight over water, they will also cooperate to conserve it and the history of water controversies is that, in the long run, the rule of cooperation prevails.

Yet another nugget from my current favorite book, Carey McWilliams’ California: The Great Exception. Do you think he’s right? (The quote’s the opening of a 1949 chapter on the Colorado River battle of Arizona v. California, which didn’t see its final decree until March 27, 2006. That’s 57 years.)


  1. Southern Nevada Water Authority’s chief exec Pat Mulroy made the same point as McWilliams in her talk at the Colorado Water Users Assoc annual meeting in Dec 2012. In fact, it was the central point of her presentation: that the Colorado River Compact and the 1944 U.S.-Mexico water pact have served as foundation for extraordinary cross-boundary collaboration. Still, I tend to agree with commenter Ross’ wry observation.

  2. Cooperation will prevail only after the money dries up, in the meantime everyone sues (and counter-sues) everyone else. Of course the water will run out first.

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