A Warmer, Drier West: A Detailed History and Possible Future of Water Use in the West

On October 13, 1893, Major John Wesley Powell, celebrated explorer, geologist and Civil War veteran, addressed delegates of the Second Irrigation Congress in Los Angeles, declaring to the capitalists, politicians and boosters attending (and whose main agenda was to develop the arid West), “What matters it whether I am popular or unpopular? I tell you, gentlemen, you are piling up a heritage of conflict and litigation over water rights, for there is not sufficient water to supply these lands.” Powell’s blunt prophetic statement did not win support. The delegates booed him off the stage.