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here has never been more, and there will never be less. Water is the essence of all life. It is also perhaps the most indestructible substance on our planet, for while it may be altered in form and mass and become the carrier of other elements, there is little if any difference in the amount of water on the planet today than there has been through the eons of time. Even with the infinite uses mankind makes of it, there exists enough fresh water alone to provide every human being with more than 40 million gallons-far more in constantly replenished form than could be consumed in any lifetime.

Of all the paradoxes of existence, this one is the true master of human behavior and social order-thirst on a planet virtually made of water. Famine and feast, war and peace, civilization and extinction all begin in what seems the whim of a winter cloud...Click here to download the entire 40 page report (about 2.8 mb)

(about 15 minutes at 56 kbs; 30 minutes at 28.8 kbs)

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This report is presented as a down-loadable Adobe Acrobat file.
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A RANGE publication, with major funding from the
Nevada Rangeland resources Commission, T.J. Day, & Paragon Foundation

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Page 1 - Water in the West, A RANGE special report

Page 3 - Caught in the high beams - Here was a moment for courage. Instead, the Secretary called secret meetings and asked for patience.

By all accounts, Interior Secretary Gale Norton is an extremely bright, well-informed person, particularly on the matter of water and water law. But there is no doubt that from time to time since taking office she has seemed to have that look-the deer in the headlights...

Page 4 - Betrayed by the Feds – It is a drought decreed by lawsuit and being enforced, ironically, by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in Klamath Basin. Some estimates are that the result may be the death of farm-dependant communities like Merrill and Malin and Tule Lake, and varying degrees of economic disaster for as many as 25,000 residents of the Klamath Basin, including the city of Klamath Falls itself. A rural economy productive of at least $300 million a year is on the verge of catastrophe...

Page 15 - Basins – There are two truly great rivers in the West. Each assembles its power from the grasp of soaring peaks in the Rockies or the Cascades or from the dozens of other ranges that capture the moisture off an eastward leading jet stream and grip it in ice for a time before it can slip away, back to the Pacific. The Columbia or the Colorado could bring the brave across nearly half the continent, farther than any rivers running east of the divide, but the journey today would unfold through hazards of historic challenges and menacing ideals enough to rival a Joseph Conrad epic...

Page 20 - The Map – West of the 100th meridian is a climate apart, and sometimes little understood, from the rest of the continental United States. It is a region that ranges from rain forests with over 100 inches of precipitation a year to desert depths with less than two inches of rainfall in a year...

Page 22 - Aquifers - An underground ocean deep below the surface of the earth has become another battleground in the relentless struggle between where the water exists and where the people have gone...

Page 24 - Drought – The icon of American economic disaster is still the image of the Depression-era Dust Bowl. Drought is always made to seem more hopeless and more devastating than even the assaults of hurricanes and tornados. But it is a naturally recurring event in the American West especially, and in these times that has proven not only costly, but politically useful...

Page 26 - The West – “We must control the water,” said former Secretary of Interior Bruce Babbitt, “and then we will control the West.” ...

Page 30 - The Great Basin - this is the place where rivers suddenly end and even mountains boil their feet in lost hot springs. It is the ranchers here who give all animals and birds a drink...

Page 34 - Big Lone Star Win - Seven hundred early Texas ranches are saved from drowning...

Page 35 - How to win a property war - 14 lessons learned...

Page 36 - The Texas Water Wars – Now most people don’t know groundwater from granola. But everyone has an opinion on “rule of capture,” and this being Texas some have several opinions. Ranchers don’t want to lose their traditional groundwater rights. Water managers want the state to regulate the resource. Environmentalists want a separate water right for the environment. And lawyers hate how the rule limits their ability to sue. Meanwhile the water hustlers circle like buzzards, and some landowners worry that they’re missing the biggest game of Texas hold ’em since Spindletop. And some of ’em are...

Pag 38 - Drowning in Albuquerque? - While many of us are drawn to the West because of its beauty, our daily decisions can actually lead to the degradation of the land and the water upon which life depends...

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Particular thanks to: Nevada Rangeland Resources Commission, T.J. Day and The Paragon Foundation for generous assistance with the cost of printing.

In compiling this report, we utilized government reports, congressional testimony and numerous published works. We were also reliant on the research and assistance of many outstanding individuals and independent organizations including the Range Education Foundation; Ric Costales, People for the USA/Frontiers of Freedom; Kelly Redmond, Desert Research Institute; Bill Schroeder, attorney and water law expert; and Larry Turner, photographer.

Printed copies of “Water in the West,” $3 each;10 copies or more, $2 each.
1-year subscription to award-winning quarterly RANGE magazine, $19.95.

Published by RANGE magazine, P.O. Box 639, Carson City, NV 89702
775-884-2200 - FAX 775-884-2213

Publisher/Editor: C. J. Hadley
Writer: Tim Findley Designer: John Bardwell
Associate Editor: Barbara Wies
Managing Editor: Sindy Scarce
© 2001 RANGE/Water in the West

This report is presented as a down-loadable Adobe Acrobat file.(Don’t have the Acrobat Reader? Click here for a link to Adobe’s Acrobat download site. Acrobat Reader)

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last page update: 04.03.05