The legacy of Charlie flagg: narratives of drought and overcoming the monster in West Texas Water Policy Debates

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The 40th anniversary of the publication of Elmer Kelton’s 1973 novel The Time it Never Rained coincides with one of the most severe droughts on record in Texas. Meanwhile, as of 2005, local groundwater conservation districts in Texas are required by law to determine how much groundwater they want to conserve for future generations. Such policy decisions have led to debates in West Texas among agricultural producers over whether pumping restrictions amount to erosion of the famous “rule of capture” and private property rights. This article presents Texas water law history, the Ogallala Aquifer, and its users as a continuing story in which producers and government policymakers are actors. This paper first summarizes the ways in which water challenges in the American West and elsewhere have been classified according to different disciplines and then shows how each of those ways of knowing can be understood as a kind of storytelling. The author uses Kelton’s drought novel and scholarly in
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-92
JournalTexas Water Resources Institute/Texas Water Journal
StatePublished - Nov 2013

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