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NCSSM 2011 Summer Symposium, The Waterless West: Historical Overview
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NCSSM 2011 Summer Symposium, The Waterless West: Historical Overview

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NCSSM 2011 Summer Symposium, The Waterless West: Historical Overview Presentation Transcript

  • 1. The waterless west
    How the West was Won
  • 2. The Great American Desert
  • 3. Patterns of migration
  • 4. “Manifest Destiny”
  • 5. Progress!
    Cyrus Thomas: “rain follows the plow”
    It works, but not for a whole region
    This obstacle and frame of thinking
    leads to…
    The evolution of riparian rights in the East
    He who controls the source, controls the water
    And the evolution of prior appropriation rights in the West
    Water rights are separate from land ownership and are allocated to those who first put the water to beneficial use
    …in essence, a water “free-for-all”
  • 6. The West as we think of it today
  • 7. How does the West compare to the East?
    Los Angeles
    Average yearly rainfall: <15 inches
    Population: 9.8 million
    Las Vegas
    Average yearly rainfall: <4 inches
    Population: 478,000+
    Durham, NC
    Average yearly rainfall: about 48 inches
    Population: <263,000
  • 8. What Drew So Many People to Places with Not a lot of Water?
    GOLD!
    Cheap (sometimes FREE), available land
    Population pressures
    Economic Development
    e.g. LA Chamber of Commerce’s “California on Wheels” program (1880s), etc.
  • 9. And, A Walnut Elephant!
    • Commissioned by the LA Chamber of Commerce and constructed of 850 lbs of California walnuts for the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair