The Water War

As Owens Valley water came down the aqueduct, thirsty Los Angeles rejoiced. But angry farmers were buying dynamite and cleaning guns

Beyond the Missouri River, water has been almost a sacred commodity—accorded the same passionate respect that it received in the Bible lands. There is an old saying in the West: “Steal my horse, carry off my wife, but don’t touch my water.” Ever since the American frontier reached the great bend of the Missouri, water—or the lack of it—has been the chief determinant of western development. And from the time that the first farmer fenced a water hole on the open range, it has been the West’s chief source of conflict.

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