Water is for Fighting Over

It's something we take for granted every single day. You turn on the sink or shower and have clean running water. It's a daily necessity. But do you ever wonder where that water comes from? It turns out there's a battle brewing behind the scenes to keep the tap flowing, one that could affect every single New Mexican. But there doesn't have to be.

In a fascinating new book, Water is for Fighting Over...and Other Myths about Water in the West, John Fleck, a faculty member in the Department of Economics and Director of the Water Resources Program at the University of New Mexico, gives us a play-by-play on the 'Water Wars in the West.'

“There’s a narrative of doom in the non-fiction literature of the West—a narrative most famously laid out by the great Marc Reisner in his classic Cadillac Desert,” said Fleck. “The story is that our unwillingness to come to terms with the overbuilt farms and cities of the arid Southwest would, in the words of one author I quote in the book, 'catalyze an apocalyptic collapse of Western society.'” The reality, though, is more hopeful, Fleck argues.”

Fleck offers a unique, fresh perspective on the catastrophe narrative of the West, showcasing how this region is less of a battlefield and more of a place where individuals and communities find common ground amid a changing geography.

Water is for Fighting Over is a well-written exploration about the role of water in the West. In it, Fleck crafts a series of stories led by characters that serve as reminders why conflict isn’t always the solution; in fact, often compromise and comradery are key to recognizing water problems and collaborating to solve them across geographical, political, and organizational boundaries.

Fleck is available for on-camera interviews to discuss this fascinating topic in detail and explain how this is something that affects all New Mexicans.

For 25 years, Fleck covered science and the environment for the Albuquerque Journal.