Who Controls the Water?: A Historical Perspective

Posted By:  Tina Walker Davis
Date Posted:  10/7/2014

Deschutes River The Oregon Historical Society, the Deschutes County Historical Society and Deschutes Public Library invite the public to participate in an important and timely conversation about the history of water rights and use in Oregon and beyond. This event is free and open to the public; no registration is required.

Friday, October 10, 2014 • 2:00–5:00 p.m.
Downtown Bend Library

“Residents of Bend and our local governments are engaged in making enormous decisions about the Deschutes River, from surface water to the Colorado Street Dam to canal piping to Mirror Pond,” says Kelly Cannon-Miller, Executive Director of the Deschutes County Historical Society. “The history of who controls water isn’t just a matter of teaching us something to help us be more informed—sometimes, history is controlling the current situation,” she says.

This event gathers renowned scholars with the community to address several topics, including: development of the Deschutes River Basin; influence of the environmental movement on water control and usage, particularly within the context of climate change; and how communities address and resolve water conflicts in the United States and across the globe.

“The goal of the forum is to help provide historical context to water in the west, offer examples of water conflict and resolution from around the world, and how water policy of the past has shaped the Deschutes River Basin as we know it,” says Cannon-Miller.

Featured speakers:

W. TODD JARVIS, Interim Director of the Institute for Water & Watersheds at Oregon State University. Todd is a consulting groundwater hydrologist with nearly 30 years of experience working for global water/waste water engineering and groundwater engineering firms. His new book is Contesting Hidden Waters: Conflict Resolution for Groundwater and Aquifers.

JOSHUA HOWE, Assistant Professor of History and Environmental Studies at Reed College. His new book, Behind the Curve: Science and the Politics of Global Warming, explores the political history of climate change since the 1950s. He works on historical questions about sustainability and the global environment that bridge environmental history, the history of science and the history of American foreign policy.

WILLIAM LANG, Emeritus Professor of History at Portland State University. William is a member of the Oregon Historical Society Board of Trustees and Chair of the Executive Committee of the Oregon Encyclopedia. He is author or editor of six books on Pacific Northwest history, including Two Centuries of Lewis & Clark and Great River of the West.

For more information about this program, please visit the library website at or the Deschutes Historical Museum & Society website at People with disabilities needing accommodations (alternative formats, seating or auxiliary aides) should contact Tina at 541-312-1034.

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