Book Day: Water is For Fighting Over, and Other Myths… — John Fleck


From InkStain (John Fleck):

My friends in the University of New Mexico water community, faculty and students, threw a party for me last night to welcome me as the new director of UNM’s Water Resources Program and celebrate Book Day Eve. A bunch of Albuquerque water people came too. It was a blast, nobody got drunk and trashed the place, and I signed a bunch of books.

It was great to share with the people who have surrounded and supported me these years as I toiled on something that would otherwise have been lonely.

I wish y’all, my Inkstain readers, could have been there too, because the conversation here has been a big part of what made the book popular. Readers of Water is for Fighting Over: and Other Myths about Water in the West will find much that is familiar. This has been my sketchbook, where I worked out the ideas that ultimately became the book, and I thank you all especially for also making it a less lonely endeavor.

With the official publication date today, I’m now asking for help to get the word out.

If you’d like to buy a copy from Island Press, use the code 4FLECK, which is good for a 20% discount. You can also get it from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and your local independent bookseller. And this month only, you can get the e-book for just $3.99.

I hope you will consider sharing the book with your own networks. You can help in a few ways:

  • Forward this message to your own contacts or share the news on your social media networks. Feel free to include the discount code, 4FLECK.
  • If you’d like to review it for a publication or website, you can request a review copy from
  • If you’d like to use it in a class, you can request an exam copy here.
  • Encourage your organization to ask for details about a discounted bulk purchase.
  • Review the book on Amazon, Goodreads, or another review site.
  • Here’s an interview with John Fleck from Brad Plumer writing for Vox. Here’s an excerpt:

    For a journalist, few things make better headlines than a good resource crisis. Which is why reporters writing about water issues in the American West are often attracted to the prospect of apocalypse — that the region is going to run out of water someday.

    With California facing the worst drought in the historical record and Lake Mead dropping to its lowest level ever, there are plenty of worries that the region’s vast agricultural regions will one day wither and cities will run dry. The West’s water woes can even seem like karmic retribution. In the 20th century, humans brazenly built vast dams and reservoirs in this dry region to sustain irrigation districts and golf courses and fountains in Las Vegas. Now Mother Nature is showing us the folly of our ways.

    It’s a sexy story. But it’s not always an entirely accurate story. As longtime water reporter John Fleck argues in his thought-provoking new book, Water Is for Fighting Over, the constant doom and gloom about water in the West misses something extremely important that’s been going on in recent years. Even in the face of scarce water and apocalyptic fears, communities have managed to adapt and thrive in surprising ways.

    Yes, the West faces daunting water problems, particularly as climate change starts to shrivel up the crucial Colorado River, which supplies water to seven states from Colorado to California. But there’s also a case for optimism. Farmers and cities in the West have shown an impressive ability to adapt and even cooperate across state lines to overcome water scarcity.

    Those stories aren’t sexy. They don’t always get headlines. But learning from those successes is crucial if places like Phoenix and Los Angeles and Las Vegas and the Imperial Valley (which supplies a huge chunk of our fruits and vegetables) are to survive a hotter, drier future.

    Fleck, who is now writer-in-residence at the Water Resources Program at the University of New Mexico, has long been one of my go-to reads for understanding water in the West. We talked by phone recently about his new book, why he’s cautiously optimistic about the West, and how a region that’s perpetually water-stressed might cope with the very serious threat of global warming.

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