Mythical River: Chasing the Mirage of New Water in the American Southwest


Product Details

University of Iowa Press
Publish Date
5.9 X 8.9 X 0.8 inches | 1.05 pounds

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About the Author

Melissa L. Sevigny grew up on a four-acre plot of Sonoran desert on the outskirts of Tucson, Arizona. She currently writes science stories for KNAU (Arizona Public Radio) and lives in Flagstaff, Arizona.


"Mythical River is an excellent read and an important contribution to the literature of the Southwest, especially that which focuses on water. The book's scope moves from the micro to the human-scaled to the planetary, but it is all tied together to give a complete picture of the southwestern environment and the vital part water plays within it."--Christopher Cokinos, author, Bodies, of the Holocene

"Mythical River is a well-researched and timely exploration of the geology, ecology, history, practices, and politics of water in the American Southwest. Melissa Sevigny cuts through 'the mirage' in how people view this arid landscape, a landscape remapped by the twentieth-century search for new water, and gets real about what?it means to live in such a place. As the Southwest suffers through the decades-long drought and impacts of climate change, this work is a welcome call for mindful engagement with these issues."--Alison Hawthorne Deming, author, Zoologies: On Animals and the Human Spirit

"Melissa Sevigny deftly explores the water use history of the Colorado River Basin, contrasting apocryphal assumptions, neglected prophesies, misdirected politics and projects, and the fruits of greed and ignorance with the current perilous state of water in the West. Through well-chosen case studies, rigorous, objective mining of the data, careful synthesis, and lyrical reportage, Mythical River offers a rich, detailed picture of the current state of the single most important and contested resource in the ever-growing West."--Robert Michael Pyle, author, Sky Time in Gray's River: Living for Keeps in a Forgotten Place