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In the American West, water adjudication lawsuits are adversarial, expensive, and lengthy. Unsettled Waters is the first detailed study of water adjudications in New Mexico. The state envisioned adjudication as a straightforward accounting of water rights as private property. However, adjudication resurfaced tensions and created conflicts among water sovereigns at multiple scales. Based on more than ten years of fieldwork, this book tells a fascinating story of resistance involving communal water cultures, Native rights and cleaved identities, clashing experts, and unintended outcomes. Whether the state can alter adjudications to meet the water demands in the twenty-first century will have serious consequences.
About the Author
Eric P. Perramond is a geographer and holds a joint appointment in the Environmental and Southwest Studies programs at Colorado College. He is the author of Political Ecologies of Cattle Ranching in Northern Mexico.
"Unsettled Waters is an engagingly-written, empirically rich, and helpful new signpost along a throughline of regional literature"
— Water Alternatives
"...historians (and not just geographers and anthropologists) interested in social interactions linking water use, water law, and water policy will find this a satisfying and instructive study. Most importantly, Perramond succeeds in giving a voice to water users who feel that state authorities, engineering experts, and high-priced water lawyers do not understand the cultural dynamics of acequias and small-scale water regimes possessing roots that extend back many generations."
— Canadian Journal of History/Annales canadiennes d’histoire
"What immediately sets this study apart from all the rest is that here are the voices of individuals whose lives have been inextricably enmeshed in water rights adjudications for decades. . . . This is an outstanding piece of scholarship, and the author has done a highly commendable job of making this complex subject intelligible to the non-specialist."
— Pacific Historical Review