Water buffalos – embracing the pejorative?

I tend to hear the term “water buffalo” as pejorative – the old, lumbering water managers of a bygone era of dam-building and overconsumption. Not so, say the folks at the Central Arizona Project:

Just what is a water buffalo? In Arizona, they are those iconic figures who had the foresight to plan ahead to meet the water needs of a growing desert community. Without them, we might not have the Central Arizona Project and the state’s water situation might be bleak.

 I stand corrected, I guess.


One Comment

  1. The term “Water buffalo” could embody both positive and negative traits. I love water buffalos, the big black creatures I came to know in Viet Nam, and later observed in Malaysia and Israel. They are strong, resilient, tireless, and they can be dangerous if they think they are being threatened by a person they don’t know. In Viet Nam it was common for water buffalos to be managed by children, who grew up with them. As you know, the “buffalos” of the American west are not buffalos but bison. So, with that amount of contradictory and confusing information, it seems to me that the term “water buffalo” as used in New Mexico does not need to be pejorative, but could instead refer simply to one who has been messing around in water for a long time.

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