Welcome to High Plains Public Radio Readers Book Club, an on-air, on-line community of readers exploring themes of common interest to those who live and work on the High Plains. In this, our third Book club series, Water and Replenishment is our theme.
We’ve been talking about a classic 1970’s novel, John Nichols’ The Milagro Beanfield Wars, where the struggle for water highlights differences in the values and lifestyles of two groups of citizens – those who see the economic possibilities in reservoirs and those who prefer to honor natural topographies. As Nichols brings his novel to a close, offering a tenuous cease-fire in the Beanfield war over water, we readers sense the cease-fire will be short-lived.
I don’t know about you, but Nichols’ novel, for all its satiric bite and sass, really has got me thinking more about the history of water use and access not only in my part of the High Plains but in my own back yard. Most what I’m thinking about is how shockingly uneducated I am about this. Should I be doing a better job of conserving water? What are some of the battle lines over water in our region?