This volume presents an environmental, social, and economic history of the Llano Estacado region of the US Southern High Plains. The authors illustrate the tremendous changes in environment that occurred with the European settlement of the Plains. They detail the development of a modern irrigation culture, dependent upon non-renewable or exhaustible water resources. Human agency in the region – large-scale technological developments, national and state regulatory institutions, and global trade systems – are featured as forces that have brought great wealth to the region while at the same time erecting an edifice that because of resource depletion cannot be sustained. The Llano Estacado of the US Southern High Plains shows how this ‘modern irrigation culture” developed and questions how it might be viewed through a sustainability lens, using a multiplicity of definitions of “sustainability” and its opposite “criticality”.
Elizabeth Brooks is an independent scholar and researcher working in Washington DC. She has written about political and cultural aspects of water resource management and consulted on a variety of environmental issues including impacts of long-term climate change on water resources, public health effects from industrial airborne emissions, and risk perception of radioactive waste handling and storage. She holds a Ph.D. in Geography from Clark University. Jacque (Jody) Emel is a Resource Geographer at Clark University who has written on a number of resource and environmental issues including water resource allocation, gold mining markets and regulation, animals and their representations in society and politics, and the social risks of nuclear waste disposal. She received her Ph.D. in Hydrology and Water Resources from the University of Arizona. Prior to joining Clark University, she was a water resource planner for the State of Arizona.