NCSSM 2011 Summer Symposium, The Waterless West: Historical Overview

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NCSSM 2011 Summer Symposium, The Waterless West: Historical Overview

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

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