Introduction to Issue Sixteen

Intersections of roads, railroads, drainage, and river. Image courtesy of Sergio Souza.
Intersections of roads, railroads, drainage, and river. Image courtesy of Sergio Souza.

By Patrick Nunnally, Editor

There’s a saying among water professionals that the public only cares about water when there is too much or too little, when there is a flood or a drought. Most of the pieces in this issue of Open Rivers speak to these conditions: flood or, if not drought, at least water scarcity. Debika Banerji and Craig Colten write of differing responses to floods happening in contexts that are half a world apart—Banerji in India and Colten in south Louisiana. Leslie Johnson writes about traditional water management in India as an important response to conditions of scarcity.

Water scarcity is a fact of life in much of the American West, and David Morrison and Jessica Rossi-Mastracci both explore iconic landscapes of that region. The west is changing, of course, with climate being one of the drivers of that change. Olivia Navarro-Farr and writers from the Center for Changing Landscapes both speak directly to matters of climate change and water.

Finally, my discussion of Dolores Hayden’s book The Power of Place points out how the ordinary landscape around us is part of our sense of who we are. This is surely true for the water components of those landscapes as well.

The connection among all of these pieces is that they all point toward being more intentionally aware of how we live with water. Even in water-rich Minnesota, there is not enough to do whatever we want, whenever we want, for as long as we want. A changing climate adds uncertainty. All these pieces, in disparate ways, point toward important aspects of our water futures.

Happy reading!

Recommended Citation

Nunnally, Patrick. 2020. “Introduction to Issue Sixteen.” Open Rivers: Rethinking Water, Place & Community, no. 16. ‎.


Download PDF of Introduction to Issue Sixteen by Patrick Nunnally, Editor.