Reversing the Chicago River

One of the things that Annin rails against in his book repeatedly as an example of poor water management is the Chicago River. While Annin does a great job explaining some of the history of the project, here’s more information on its history and future. A Century Later, the Expensive Lesson of Reversing the Chicago River

Illinois Periodicals Online: The Reversal of the Chicago River in 1900

Chicagoist: Chicago River Flow Re-Reversed To Alleviate Flooding

Helix: Reversing the Chicago River, Again

Ogallala Water Aquifer

Here’s some information on the Ogallala Aquifer, to give more of a background to that water crisis, which Annin touches on.

U.S. Geological Survey: High Plains Water-Level Monitoring Study

Scientific American: The Ogallala Aquifer: Saving a Vital U.S. Water Source (2009)

Bloomberg: Depletion of Giant Aquifer Threatens Vital U.S. Farmland (2015)

Kansas City Star: A drying shame: With the Ogallala Aquifer in peril, the days of irrigation for western Kansas seem numbered (2015) 

National Geographic: Texas Water District Acts to Slow Depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer (2012)

The Aral Sea

To add to Annin’s point about the Aral Sea, here are some photographs and articles about the Aral Sea.

From National Geographic:

The left picture was taken in 2000, the right in 2014. The border is where the sea was in 1960.

The BBC:


Jetty on the Small Aral Sea


Great Lakes References

The Water and The West

One of the first things mentioned by Annin in the book is the scramble for water in the West: Oregon, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, California, New Mexico, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho and the Dakotas. So I’ll post some articles here that give some background into the increasing conflict between the states and the government and at times the ranchers and the Bureau of Land Management and the National Fish and Wildlife Service.

  1. A 4 Part Report from NPR  over the History of Water Rights in the West (2003):

The Vision of John Wesley Powell (August 26, 2003) (Part1)

Divvying Up The Mighty Colorado River (August 27, 2003) (Part 2)

The Battle Over Water Rights (August 28, 2003) (Part 3)

Water As a Cash Crop (August 29, 2003) (Part 4)

2. The Bulletin: Ranchers and Officials Feud Over Water Rights (May 16th, 2004)

3. Denver Water: Water Rights Planning 

4. Bureau of Land Management: The History of Public Land Livestock Grazing (November 6, 2015)

5. Thomas L. Fleischner, PhD.: Land Held Hostage: A History of Livestock and Politics 

6. KQED Science: Court Battle Looms Over California’s Senior Water Rights (June 15, 2015)

7. Huffington Post: Along the Colorado River, Ranchers Square Off Against Cities Over Water Rights (October 26, 2015)

8. The Atlantic: A Free-Market Plan to Save the American West from Drought (March 2016)

9. The Sierra Club: Malheur Refuge Takeover Just The Latest Twist on a Long Running Story (January 15, 2016)

10. ProPublica: The ‘Water Witch’ (June 2, 2015)

11. The Denver Post: Guest Commentary: The West’s Water Right System Is Working (September 26, 2015)

12. The Wall Street Journal: For Water Rights in Montana, It’s Still The Wild West (June 26, 2015)

13. Civil Eats: For Beginning Farmers in the West, Finding the Water to Grow Food is a Constant Gamble (March 2, 2016)


Peter Annin Radio Interview

Here is an interview Peter Annin did with PRX’s Judy Mintel. Annin talks about the Great Lakes, the impact of the reversal of the Chicago River, and the future of fresh water.

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