Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: April 25, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963879 | Print ISBN: 9781412926942 | Online ISBN: 9781412963879| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Julia Miller Cantzler
Water is perhaps the most vital natural resource for community survival. Not surprisingly, competition over this essential resource is particularly intense in places such as the western United States, where the climate is arid and fresh water is especially scarce. This situation is complicated by federal policies favoring population growth and agricultural production, as well as the patchwork of conflicting legal rights involving American Indian tribes, family farmers, large agribusinesses, and burgeoning metropolises in the West. Unfortunately, rural communities of color have historically found themselves without a voice in the water wars. While this is certainly true for rural Mexican American farmers, who have continually struggled to maintain their lands and their traditional irrigation practices against powerful industrial and urban interests, the struggle over Native American water rights has resulted in far more sweeping consequences for the entire region. Because 55% of American Indian reservations and 75% of the reservation ...