thoughts on optimism in western water

In which Sarah Tory interviews me for High Country News about stuff:

When John Fleck began covering water (among other things) in 1995 for New Mexico’s Albuquerque Journal, he assumed he’d be writing stories about dried out wells and cracked mud. After all, as a Los Angeles native who grew up in a suburb that had replaced an irrigated citrus orchard, he’d grown up reading books like A River No More, by Philip Fradkin, and Cadillac Desert, by Marc Reisner, essential reading for water nerds.

As a journalist, he went looking for the kinds of stories these authors promised: stories of “conflict, crisis, and doom.” But he found a very different narrative and after nearly 30 years spent covering some of the most pressing water issues in the West, Fleck is now writing a book, which is due to be published by Island Press next year. He recently spoke to HCN about the dilemma water journalists face these days— and why the West’s water problems aren’t as bad as we think.


  1. Interesting that the first comment on the HDN interview blamed immigration for Western population growth, when the real culprit is the innate human tendency to propagate freely, egged on by certain religious groups.

  2. I’m not that optimistic. Agencies have yet to responsibly address water use/conservation/management without weighing down the process with politics, special interests, and dinosaur mentalities. Rains, like those we’ve had recently, make folks think that we’re ok and climate change is another liberal hoax and then everyone forgets for awhile about conserving and being wise. We have a long ways to go, John.

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