Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2010

First Page






Source Publication Abbreviation

Nat. Resources & Env't


The United States has a passionate love-hate relationship with water. Americans love to live beside rivers and lakes and use them for drinking water, washing, fishing, generating power, navigating, and recreation. They also love to be able to use water from rivers, lakes, and the ground beneath their property to irrigate their crops. When it's too dry, they pray for rain. But when it's too wet, they beg for sunshine, because as much as they love living as close to the water as they can get, people hate having their homes, workplaces, and crops inundated by floodwater even more. Besides prayer, what is the prudent person to do?

This literary journey begins with a bit of the history of the boom and bust cycles of droughts and floods that have played out during the course of our love-hate affair with water. The Great Plains serve as the focus for this exploration, but the journey will also tum to the Florida Everglades and the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River, where restoration projects are underway. Along the way, I'll examine the "usual suspects"-the typical technological and legal responses to drought and floods. Finally, I'll investigate ecosystem restoration as a strategy for a more sustainable relationship with water in all of its facets, through thick and thin, flood, famine, and feast.

Included in

Water Law Commons